Last year’s double winners Chelsea will continue their defence of the SSE FA Women’s Cup after coming from behind to beat newly-promoted Doncaster Rovers Belles.
These two sides are due to meet again in the FA WSL 1 opener on Thursday night, but with a place in the quarter-finals at stake this open game was far from a mere preview.
The Belles took a sixth minute lead through Jess Sigsworth, who scored on her return to the Belles at the end of a mazy run from the wing.
Donny captain Leandra Little’s own goal drew Chelsea back level nine minutes later, with her headed clearance dropping under the crossbar.
Little made amends by clearing a Ji So-Yun shot off the line on 23 minutes, and Nicola Hobbs made a fantastic save on the stroke of half time, somehow holding Gemma Davison’s decent strike with one hand.
But Hobbs was powerless when Karen Carney sprung an offside trap and finished with a perfect lob just before the hour mark.
Ji hit the crossbar with the goal gaping shortly after but she made no mistake on 72 minutes off Carney’s back heel, and Eniola Aluko’s strike two minutes later only made the scoreline more emphatic.
Doncaster Rovers Belles (4-3-3): Nicola Hobbs; Emily Simpkins, Rhiannon Roberts, Leandra Little, Sophie Barker; Kasia Lipka, Becky Easton, Sam Tierney; Jess Sigsworth, Natasha Dowie, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk. Substitutes: Alexandra Gummer for Tierney 78, Yasmin Mosby for Easton 78.Not used: Anna Moorhouse, Carla Humphrey.
Goal: Sigsworth 6
Chelsea Ladies (4-4-2): Hedvig Lindahl; Hannah Blundell, Niamh Fahey, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty; Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman, Drew Spence, Karen Carney; Eniola Aluko, Ji So-Yun. Substitutes: Bethany England for Davison 75, Jade Bailey for Aluko 78, Jenna Legg for Carney 83. Not used: Frances Kitching, Laura Rafferty
Goals: Little o.g. 15, Carney 59, Ji 72, Aluko 74
Referee: Andrew Smith
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