Manchester United reached the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals for the first time after beating Championship side Lewes.
United took an early lead through a Rhian Cleverly own goal before Vilde Boe Risa doubled their advantage after the break.
Lewes kept pushing and Emily Kraft pulled a goal back with a fine lifted finish over United keeper Mary Earps.
But the visitors sealed their progress late on when substitute Nikita Parris prodded home a third.
It had looked as if United might run away with it when Lewes defender Cleverly tucked an Alessia Russo effort past her own goalkeeper after only eight minutes.
But the hosts kept up a high work-rate and came close to an equaliser, with Natalie Johnson’s close-range effort blocked by a last-ditch Maria Thorisdottir tackle.
The Women’s Super League side asserted themselves after the break, with Martha Thomas twice denied by Lewes keeper Sophie Whitehouse, before Boe Risa nodded home a pinpoint Ona Batlle delivery to double United’s lead.
Kraft took advantage of a poor Earps clearance in the 73rd minute to lift the ball over the England shot-stopper and give the hosts a glimmer of hope.
But United put the game to bed in the 89th minute, when Parris charged through the Lewes defence before poking an effort into the far corner from a tight angle.
United’s silverware quest continues
United have been much improved under Marc Skinner this season and are in contention for silverware in both the WSL and the FA Cup.
Skinner will be hoping to guide the Red Devils to their first major trophy and they took a step closer with their victory at the Dripping Pan.
United are currently two points behind Chelsea in the league having played a game more, so the cup could offer their best chance of success this season.
And Sunday’s display will have provided some belief as they worked hard to overcome well-organised opponents.
Battle was one of United’s brightest attacking sparks with her runs down the right and the Spaniard, who turned provider for two of the goals, could be crucial if they are to realise their trophy ambitions.
But this performance did display some areas for concern. The absence of winger Leah Galton from Skinner’s side left them lacking impetus in the final third at times, while Russo was also regularly left isolated up front.
The Red Devils may still be a work in progress but reaching the FA Cup last four for the first time in their history is an important milestone for the club nevertheless.
United will find out their semi-final opponents in Tuesday’s draw, which takes place on Morning Live on BBC One.
- 10StobbsSubstituted forMushtaqat 86′minutes
- 3CleverlySubstituted forWeirat 78′minutes
- 16BartonBooked at 45mins
- 8PalmerSubstituted forDaltonat 65′minutes
- 7JohnsonSubstituted forHowellsat 78′minutes
Man Utd Women
- 15Le TissierBooked at 90mins
- 3ThorisdóttirSubstituted forMannionat 64′minutes
- 8Bøe Risa
- 17GarcíaSubstituted forTooneat 45′minutes
- 16NaalsundSubstituted forLaddat 27′minutes
- 9ThomasSubstituted forParrisat 65′minutes
- 23RussoSubstituted forWilliamsat 86′minutes
- Stacey Fullicks
Match ends, Lewes Women 1, Manchester United Women 3.
Second Half ends, Lewes Women 1, Manchester United Women 3.
Attempt blocked. Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Ella Toone (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Katie Zelem (Manchester United Women).
Aqsa Mushtaq (Lewes Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Paula Howells (Lewes Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Maya Le Tissier (Manchester United Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women).
Paula Howells (Lewes Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Millie Turner (Manchester United Women).
Rebecca McKenna (Lewes Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Rebecca McKenna (Lewes Women).
Goal! Lewes Women 1, Manchester United Women 3. Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Maya Le Tissier.
Attempt missed. Paula Howells (Lewes Women) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Substitution, Lewes Women. Aqsa Mushtaq replaces Amber-Keegan Stobbs because of an injury.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Rachel Williams replaces Alessia Russo.
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