Ward hails Villa's 'relentless attitude' in FA Cup win over City
Carla Ward hailed Aston Villa's "relentless attitude" after they overcame Manchester City in the Women's FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Villans extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven matches against City thanks to Rachel Daly's winner in the 97th minute.
Ward's side found themselves 1-0 up courtesy of Rachel Corsie who powered home a header to open the scoring after Daly had gone close on two previous occasions.
City drew level through Deyna Castellanos before half-time but the Midlands club stood firm and snatched the winner through their No8 who poked in from close range in extra-time.
Ward could not hide her delight, saying: "This group just continues to achieve and continues to prove people wrong.
"The relentless nature of the attitude was unbelievable and I thought everybody played their part and we deserve to be in the semi-finals after that performance."
City were left frustrated once again at the hands of Villa, who they have failed to beat three times this season.
Despite the best efforts of Khadija Shaw and Co, the Women's Super League title challengers were unable to down a Villa side brimming with confidence.
City manager Gareth Taylor said: "I spoke about how proud we are of the effort, again it’s taken extra-time to be beaten which is frustrating, but we need to learn from it.
"We need to be tidier from some of the defending on our set plays because that’s the first time we’ve conceded a brace since the start of the season.
"And at the top end of the pitch [as well] but that never changes, we do so much work in that space. We could’ve had four or five tonight."
United squeeze through
Manchester United will join Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time after they beat Championship side Lewes.
The Red Devils went ahead early after Lewes' Rhian Cleverly scored an own goal before Vilde Boe Risa doubled their lead shortly after the hour mark.
But it was a nervy finish in East Sussex as Emily Kraft pulled one back for the hosts, lifting the ball over Mary Earps with 15 minutes left to play.
The visitors sealed their spot in the last four late on when substitute Nikita Parris stabbed home a third in the final moments.
United manager Marc Skinner said: "The result was more important because I don’t think we played particularly well.
"Lewes, credit to them, made it very difficult. They added great physicality to the game.
"It was a real, proper cup tie. It’s something I’m happy and privileged we’ve been a part of. We take the result and we’re through to the semi-finals."
Blues book their place
WSL leaders Chelsea breezed past Reading as they continued their charge to retain the FA Cup under Emma Hayes.
Goals from Jess Carter, Maren Mjelde and Guro Reiten gave the Blues a comfortable 3-0 lead before Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen grabbed a consolation for the Royals.
After the match, Carter said: "It was a tough game, Reading put up a physical battle and made it tough for us to break them down.
"We had to earn our goals and it's always huge to get a win ahead of a big week and it was nice to start it off right."
The Blues travel to Lyon for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday before a trip to WSL rivals City on Sunday.
Seagulls soar past Birmingham
Brighton eased to a 2-0 win at Birmingham thanks to goals from Poppy Pattinson and Danielle Carter.
Pattinson's 28th-minute strike was followed by Carter's penalty four minutes later to put Amy Merricks's side in a commanding position in the Midlands.
The hosts responded well but none of their 14 efforts on goal could breach Megan Walsh's net and it was plain sailing for the Seagulls at St Andrew's.
Interim boss Merricks said: "I'm really proud of everyone, I feel that it was a good performance.
"I'm particularly proud of the clean sheet, that's something big that we'll take with us going forward.
"Credit to Birmingham, I thought that they came out and made it difficult. The team dealt with it well in those dangerous moments but I also feel that we can make better decisions to help control the game a bit more."
The four victorious teams will discover their semi-final opponents in tomorrow morning's draw.
Women's FA Cup quarter-final results
Lewes 1-3 Manchester United
Birmingham 0-2 Brighton
Reading 1-3 Chelsea
Aston Villa 2-1 Manchester City (aet)