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Women’s FA Cup: Chelsea and Arsenal progress while Manchester United upset Brighton

Lauren James is congratulated on scoring for Manchester United in their Women’s FA Cup win at Brighton

Two second-half goals sent Women’s FA Cup holders Chelsea into the fifth round with a 2-0 win at Everton.

Chelsea were frustrated for long spells by Everton keeper Kirstie Levell before Drew Spence and Hannah Blundell struck.

Arsenal won 4-0 at fourth-tier Crawley as 16-year-old Ruby Grant scored three, and Lauren James, 17, netted twice as Manchester United won 2-0 at Brighton.

West Ham came from behind to avoid an upset, beating third-tier Blackburn 3-1 and Bristol City won 3-0 at Wimbledon.

Sunday’s winners join Women’s Super League leaders Manchester City – who beat Watford 3-0 on Saturday – in Monday’s fifth-round draw after a day when the weather caused several ties to be postponed.

Championship duo Tottenham Hotspur and London Bees also progressed to the last-16 stage with victories over fellow second-tier sides Crystal Palace and Leicester respectively.

Teenage talents turn on the magic

On a weekend of few shocks, with the majority of WSL sides in action easing through, teenagers Grant and James stole the show with their sharp-shooting performances for two teams in red.

Grant, who only made her Arsenal league debut in November, marked her first FA Cup appearance with a superb hat-trick to down battling Crawley.

Wasps have won all 10 league games this season to stand proudly top of National Division One South East but had no answer to Grant’s treble after Kim Little had put Arsenal ahead.

Ruby Grant captained Arsenal Under-16s to the FA Girls’ Youth Cup in 2017 and has quickly made her mark on the senior competition

Another Arsenal youth product made an impact elsewhere – United’s James, who came through the ranks with the Gunners before moving north.

The teenager scored both of United’s goals as the Championship newcomers sprung a minor surprise at Hope Powell’s Brighton, who stand ninth in the WSL.

That was the only shock of the round although Northern Premier leaders Blackburn did provide West Ham, two divisions above, with a scare.

Natasha Flint’s early goal threatened a Rovers upset but two goals from January signing Adriana Leon and a Brianna Vasilli strike spared West Ham’s blushes.

Winter weather hits cup programme hard – and league too

There will be plenty of either/ors in Monday evening’s fifth-round draw after eight of Sunday’s 15 scheduled fourth-round ties were postponed because of the freezing weather that has hit Britain.

The ties at Super League sides Liverpool, Reading and Yeovil were among those called off because of frozen pitches.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yeovil Ladies’ pitch at Dorchester Town did not pass Sunday morning’s inspection…

Yeovil have confirmed their tie with fellow WSL side Birmingham City will now be played on Sunday, 10 February, which would impact on the WSL fixtures set to take place that same day.

Third-placed Chelsea’s pivotal visit to leaders Manchester City is unaffected but two of the other four scheduled WSL games – Birmingham’s trip to Everton and Reading’s game at Yeovil – have already been called off because of the cup rearrangements.

Second-placed Arsenal’s visit to Liverpool could also be postponed – although the Reds have yet to announce a new date for their fourth-round game at home to Milton Keynes Dons.

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