Women's FA Cup fifth round: Kerr hailed as 'the best in the business'
Emma Hayes hailed Sam Kerr as "the best in the business" after the striker marked her 100th Chelsea appearance with a goal in the Blues' Women’s FA Cup fifth-round win over Arsenal.
Just four days after leading Australia to a triumph in the Cup of Nations tournament Down Under, the 29-year-old was named in the starting XI at Kingsmeadow and sealed the game with her side's second following Sophie Ingle’s opener.
With that clinical finish — her 82nd for the Blues — Hayes was full of praise for her superstar forward.
The 46-year-old boss said: "Some players get off a plane on Thursday night and complain about being tired on Friday — not her.
"She comes in, does everything necessary and lifts the spirit of everyone in the building.
"She is the best in the business, and it's not just 82 goals in 100 games, it is the mentality. The spirit shown in challenging circumstances which, as a team, we showed better today."
It was another frustrating afternoon for the Gunners, who were left ruing a hatful of missed chances against the FA Cup holders.
The North Londoners continued to lack a cutting edge without injured forward pair Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, with the likes of Frida Maanum, Caitlin Foord and Stina Blacksteinus all going close.
Manager Jonas Eidevall said: "It is unusual to have so many more chances than Chelsea at Kingsmeadow. We created enough to win the game, but they are brutally efficient, and we aren't.
"If you're a pessimist, after today you can think negative thoughts, or you can say next game we will score five goals, because we were so good today. It doesn't guarantee anything but I am an optimist.
"It's easy to think, when you don't score chances, to start over again, but you have to keep going."
United and City safely through
Manchester United and Manchester City joined fellow WSL big-hitters Chelsea in the quarter-finals after convincing wins over Durham and Bristol City respectively.
The Red Devils avenged their shock Continental Cup group stage defeat to Championship Durham by winning 5-0 at Leigh Sports Village, with Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris among the scorers.
City were in similarly ruthless form as Khadija Shaw netted four goals in an 8-1 thrashing of the Robins to safely seal their place in the last eight.
WSL pair Aston Villa and Reading endured more tense afternoons with both clubs needing penalties to see off West Ham and Tottenham respectively.
Carla Ward’s side recovered from Dagnu Brynjarsdottir’s stoppage-time equaliser to triumph 6-7 in the shootout, with Rachel Daly netting in normal time for the visitors.
The Royals were victors in another all-WSL affair, beating Tottenham 5-4 from the spot following a goalless draw.
Brighton ensured there were no cup upsets as the WSL strugglers secured a 5-0 win over second-tier side Coventry.
Championship pair reach last eight
The six WSL sides will be joined by two Championship outfits as Lewes and Birmingham continued their own impressive cup runs.
Ellie Mason was another player to hit four as Lewes dispatched fourth-tier Cardiff, helping the Rooks reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time in their history.
Meanwhile, Birmingham were up against Championship rivals Charlton and Ashley Hodson’s 101st-minute strike proved decisive in a tight affair at the Oakwood.
Women’s FA Cup fifth round results in full
Manchester United 5-0 Durham
Brighton 5-0 Coventry
Lewes 6-1 Cardiff
Bristol City 1-8 Manchester City
Tottenham 0-0 Reading (4-5 on penalties)
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
Charlton 0-1 Birmingham
West Ham 1-1 Aston Villa (6-7 on penalties)