Arsenal survive early scare to progress to FA Cup semi-final
- Credit: PA
Arsenal survived an early scare to progress in the FA Cup beating north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at Meadow Park.
Jonas Eidevall named eight changes from Sunday’s 5-0 win over Manchester City with Tobin Heath making her full debut for the Gunners while Jordan Nobbs returned to the fold after injury.
Tottenham Hotspur took the lead inside just three
minutes as Rachel Williams let fly from the edge of the box with a thunderbolt that sailed beyond the despairing dive of Lydia Williams in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal responded well with Nikita Parris racing down the wing before powering into the box but her low powerful shot was well blocked by young Spurs defender Asmita Ale.
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Tottenham then somehow survived the next attack as Heath and Nobbs combined before the USA international on her full debut got a cross into the box for Parris who’s effort was somehow hooked off the line and Spurs cleared the danger away.
Heath was causing Spurs all sorts of problems down the flank and she was involved once more when the winger drifted into the box before crossing for Mana Iwabuchi, who attempted a spectacular overhead kick the ball taking a deflection off Josie Green and it allowed Rebecca Spencer to get down and save.
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On 15 minutes the Gunners were level via Iwabuchi who got on the end of a pull-back from Heath who burst down the wing once more cutting the ball back for Iwabuchi and she drilled the ball high into the top corner with a stunning strike to make it 1-1.
Heath was causing Spurs so many problems she got free once more before her cross was put behind for a corner by Molly Bartrip from the resulting set-piece Leah Williamson got up well but headed over the top when she was unmarked at the back-post.
Arsenal however did hit the front foot on 32 minutes when Lia Walti was brought down by Williams before Heath swung the free-kick for Lotte Wubben-Moy who span and fizzed a shot across goal before the ball hit Ale and found the net.
Two would become three on 36 minutes with Caitlin Foord getting her name on the scoresheet after Parris ran into space before picking out the Australian with a low cross for Foord to steer the ball into the back of the net.
Arsenal were ruthless and playing with a real spring in their step as they netted a fourth on the stroke of half-time as Parris got her well deserved goal when Katie McCabe flicked on a free-kick for the English international to prod home a header after beating Spurs keeper Spencer to the ball.
There was still time for one more chance in the first half as Williamson drove forward on a fine solo run Lionel Messi esque, and then picked out Nobbs who crossed for Parris at the back-post but she lashed her strike wide when she should have hit the target.
Eidevall made a change at half-time as Walti was replaced by Frida Maanum who has made a impressive start to her Arsenal career.
Tottenham started the second half brightly with Williamson forced into a fine bit of defending when Kit Graham worked her way into the area but Williamson stepped across to make the block.
Spurs then had another opportunity to pull a goal back, when Williams made a world class save from Chioma Ubogagu as she turned quickly in the area before getting a shot away but the keeper was down really quickly to turn the ball away showing lightening quick reactions.
Eidevall then looked to the bench once more as Heath and Nobbs were brought off to be replaced by Beth Mead and Kim Little.
Arsenal thought they had a fifth with Maanum as Little’s shot was blocked before falling for the Norwegian but she blasted her shot wide of the target.
Tottenham were digging deep and they came close to netting a consolation via Graham who tried her luck from range however the ball flashed wide of the target.
With just less than 15 minutes remaining Arsenal did have their fifth via Foord as they hit Spurs on a counter attack with Mead driving forward before looking up and playing a magnificent pass for the Australian to slide beyond Spencer.
Foord was then substituted moments later as Steph Catley replaced her and Williamson was also taken off for the returning Viktoria Schnaderbeck who was making her first appearance since last November.
The Gunners had the final opportunity of the game from a corner as McCabe whipped the ball in aiming for Wubben-Moy but Spencer came out to claim.
Arsenal will now host Brighton & Hove Albion in the semi-final as they are now just one step away from Wembley Stadium and the FA Cup final.
Arsenal: Williams, Wubben-Moy, Patten, Williamson (Schnaderbeck 77), McCabe, Walti (Maanum 46), Nobbs (Little 61), Iwabuchi, Foord (Catley 77), Parris, Heath (Mead 61).
Unused substitutes: Zinsberger, Goldie, Maritz, Miedema.
Tottenham Hotspur: Spencer, Zadorsky, Green (Harrop 46), Bartrip, Tang, Williams (Addison 60), Percival, Ale (Morgan 80), Ubogagu (Ayane 59), Clemaron, Neville (Graham 46).
Unused substitutes: Korpela, Naz, Flores.