Doncaster 0-4 Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM City Ladies bounced back from the disappointment of losing out on the league title to book their place in the semi-final of the Continental Cup with a convincing 4-0 win at Doncaster.
Blues’ top-scorer Rachel Williams was the hero of the day as she netted an impressive hat-trick to add to her 14 league goals, with Jodie Taylor grabbing the other.
City skipper Laura Bassett turned Precious Hamilton’s deflected right-wing cross onto the roof of her own net in the opening stages whilst Karen Carney’s volley was blocked at the other end.
The Blues did not have to wait long for another opportunity and took the lead on 16 minutes through Williams. Kerys Harrop was allowed time and space on the left-wing to deliver a curling cross and the prolific striker rose highest at the far-post to head home.
Mary Earps was then equal to Christiansen’s side-foot effort before the same player was sent clear on goal only to curl wastefully wide.
The Belles rode their luck and almost hit back as Jessica Sigsworth burst down the right but her squared pass was scrambled behind with Aine O’Gorman ready to pounce.
On 42 minutes Williams doubled her side’s advantage albeit in controversial fashion.
After Sigsworth appeared to be fouled in the build-up, Williams attempted to slip through strike partner Taylor but, with Taylor flagged for offside, Williams raced onto her own pass to side-foot past Earps into the bottom right-hand corner.
The Blues had blown a two-goal advantage in last-week’s league meeting between the two sides and seemed determined to prevent a repeat as Williams completed her hat-trick two minutes after the restart.
Carney crossed from the right and, after Christiansen was barged in the back, Williams stepped up to stroke the penalty down the centre of the goal.
Williams was again at the heart of the action on 58 minutes as she played in Taylor who fired narrowly wide but Taylor was not to be denied and completed the scoring with 10 minutes left as she headed in Carney’s cross at the near post.
DONCASTER ROVERS BELLES (4-5-1): Earps; Chadwick, Sjoman, Jones, Karlsson; O’Gorman, Exley (Hall 61), Holtham (C), Prosser, Hamilton (England 66); Sigsworth (Scott 80)
Subs not used: Cox
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Hourihan; Harrop, Westwood, Bassett (c), Weston (Susi 66); Carney, Potter, Moore (Stanton 71), Christiansen (Ballard 63); Williams, Taylor
Subs not used: Hall (gk), Wright
BOOKINGS: DONCASTER: Holtham (43, dissent), Jones (44, dissent). BIRMINGHAM: None.
SENDINGS OFF: DONCASTER: None. BIRMINGHAM: None.
GOALS: BIRMINGHAM: Williams (16, 42, 47 pen), Taylor (80)
REFEREE: A. Fearn