BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea 3 v Arsenal 0
Beth England sent Chelsea into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a brilliant brace – her second, an absolute screamer as the Blues thrashed Arsenal 3-0 at Kingsmedow this afternoon.
Striker England was on hand to slot home the early opener in a pulsating and rugged encounter against the WSL 1 leaders. Chelsea, as FA Cup holders, were focused and determined. They rode their luck on several occasions, mostly of their own making as a result of defensive errors. But
When Jonna Andersson struck a beauty of a left-footer from 25 yards, six minutes from the end of the first half, the Blues visibly grew in confidence and knew the game’s result was in their hands.
But the Gooners knew if they could notch a goal, the nature of the tier could change.
However top striker Vivienne Miedema was anonymous and she was eventually substituted.
England’s second in the second half, settled the cup match as she thumped home a right-footer that almost broke Pauling Peyraund-Magnin’s net.
It was a just reward for the 5-0 thrashing Arsenal heaped upon the Blues earlier in the season in the league.
While the first effort fell to Arsenal – Beth Mead’s speculative effort from just outside of the Chelsea penalty area on four minutes, it was the Blues who dominated the opening exchanges.
And they got their reward a minute later. Scotland international Erin Cuthbert dispossessed left back Emma Mitchell, raced into the Arsenal area. She squared the ball to her left, and in-running Beth England cooly slotted home past Pauline Peyraund-Magnin.
Arsenal responded well and Magdalena Eriksson produced a last-gasp challenge to thwart Danielle Van De Bonk, who only had to tap in.
Ann-Katrin Berger was twice forced to make goal-saving efforts, the first from her own player Hannah Blundell, whose mis-hit shot saw Berger tip the ball over her crossbar.
The second to get her body to a low, Van De Donk effort.
The Blues gradually saw more of the ball and Drew Spence tried a long range right-footer which sailed high and wide over Peyraund-Magnin’s crossbar on 25 minutes.
Against the run of play the Blues made it 2-0 six minutes from the end of the half. Jonna Eriksson saw the space to run in to and let fly from 25 yards and her left footer completely flummoxed Peyraund-Magnin and the ball zipped into the back of of the net.
A lovely dinked ball by Sophie Ingle allowed Beth England to attack the Arsenal defence. She shrugged off the challenge of Louise Quinn but she lost control of her shot and the ball smashed into the stand behind the Arsenal goal.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
England was inches away with a 20-yarder, But the right-footer went just wide of the Arsenal’s right post.
Arsenal piled on the pressure, creating several corners.
But on a quick break England found herself in a race for the ball with two Arsenal defenders closing her down. But the striker Kepler here eye ion the ball and unleashed a venomously right footer that sliced its way through the air and smashed the top left hand corner of the net to put Chelsea 3-0 up.
Chelseas boss made her first change, bringing on Ramona Bachman for England on 66 minutes.
Katie McCabe was replaced by Lisa Evans two minutes later as Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro made his first substitution.
Fran Kirby entered the fray on 70 minutes for S—Yun Ji.
Chelsea ran down the clock effectively and now enter the hat for the quarter-finals tomorrow evening.
Teams: Chelsea, Berger, Blundell, Bright, Ingle, Carney, Ji, England, Eriksson, Andersson, Cuthbert, Spence
Subs: Lindahl, Asante, Carter, Riley, Kirby, Cooper, Bachmann
Arsenal: Peyraund-Magnin, Venezuela, Mitchell, Anthony, Van De Donk, Little Miedema, McCabe, Quinn, Bloodworth, Mead
Subs: Van Veenendaal, Williamson, Evans, Kuyken, Hazard