Birmingham City Ladies 1 Chelsea Ladies 1; AET, Blues win 4-2 on penalties.
FOOTBALL: BLUES Ladies will face Manchester City Women in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley after a stunning semi-final victory over Chelsea, writes Liam Moakes.
Ellen White kept her cool to convert the winning penalty after Aoife Mannion, Sarah Mayling and Kerys Harrop had all scored in the shoot-out.
It was heartbreak for Chelsea, for whom Eni Aluko’s penalty hit the post before Millie Bright saw her effort saved by Ann-Katrin Berger.
Berger was once again in sublime form for Marc Skinner’s side as she twice superbly denied Ramona Bachmann in extra time.
In normal time, Hannah Blundell had the best chance of the first half for the visitors but blazed over from close range after great work by Karen Carney and Claire Rafferty.
Paige Williams then came within a whisker of putting the hosts ahead in the 52nd minute when her inswinging free kick went inches wide of the far post.
However, the home team were ahead when Meaghan Sargeant thumped home a header from Sarah Mayling’s inviting corner from the left.
Despite late pressure from Chelsea, that looked set to prove enough for Skinner’ side, but Chelsea substitute Drew Spence thumped a brilliant 22-yard strike into the top right corner in the 88th minute.
Williams almost won the tie for Blues in the fourth minute of added time in normal time when her corner was headed off the line.
Thirty minutes of tension-filled extra time then failed to separate the sides, but it was Blues who held their nerve to claim glory on penalties and send home supporters into raptures.
The final takes place on Saturday, May 13 (5.15pm).
Blues Ladies: Berger, Harrop, Mannion, Sargeant, Williams, Mayling, Carter, Ewers (Stringer 76), White, Ayisi (Westwood 87), Brazil (Wellings 90+2).
Unused subs: Baggaley, Hegerberg.