Conti Cup - Final Group Round
Saturday, 27 January 2024
Catch up with the action from the final group round of the Conti Cup
The final set of group matches in this season’s Conti Cup, which decided the seven sides who would join Chelsea in the quarter-finals, took place on Wednesday and Thursday. Here is a round-up of what happened.
In Group A, Aston Villa won 7-0 away at Sunderland. The goals came from Alisha Lehmann, Jordan Nobbs, Rachel Corsie, Ebony Salmon, Simone Magill, Adriana Leon and a Natasha Fenton own goal. The win sees Villa top the group whilst Sunderland finish as runners-up. The Villans finished the group stage undefeated, having scored 24 and conceding only 1 in their 4 games.
However, Aston Villa’s recent signing from Arsenal, Noelle Maritz, came on at half time and having already played in the competition three times for the Gunners this season, according to the cup rules it looks like she was cup-tied and ineligible. The FA released a statement on Thursday evening saying they “are now investigating an alleged breach of Cup Rule 8.19 by Villa and in accordance with competition rules, this matter has been referred to Sport Resolutions UK for consideration by an independent tribunal.”
In the other match in the group, Blackburn Rovers beat Sheffield United 3-0. Lucy Shepherd scored a brace and Lauren Thomas got the other goal for Rovers.
Manchester City won Group B with a 2-1 win over city rivals Manchester United. Chloe Kelly gave City the lead just after half time and Lauren Hemp added a second in the 70th minute. Nikita Parris scored a consolation goal for United in stoppage time at the end of the match. The defeat sees Marc Skinner’s side finish in second place in the group.
Leicester City beat Everton 5-1 in the other Group B game. The Foxes goals were scored by Samantha Tierney, Deanne Rose, Shannon O’Brien, Missy Goodwin and Jutta Rantala whilst Hanna Bennison scored the Toffees late consolation one.
London City Lionesses progressed to the Conti Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in Group C. Elise Hughes had given the Eagles the lead in the first half but two second half goals from Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah saw the Pride top the group.
The other Group C match between Watford and Lewes was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch at Grosvenor Vale.
Holders Arsenal won Group D with a 6-0 win away at Reading. Caitlin Foord opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Stina Blackstenius added two more before the break. Laia Codina scored the Gunners fourth six minutes into the second half. Leah Williamson come on as a substitute in the 61st minute making her first appearance since recovering from an ACL injury. Ten minutes later, Kim Little came on to make her 300th appearance for Arsenal. Williamson assisted Beth Mead as the Gunners made it 5-0 before Blackstenius completed her hat-trick in the 84th minute.
Tottenham Hotspur secured second place in Group D with a 3-0 win away at Southampton. Ramona Petzelberger, Charlotte Grant and Grace Clinton scored the goals for Spurs as they qualified for the quarter-finals.
I was at The Oakwood on Wednesday evening to see Brighton & Hove Albion make it three wins out of three in the group stage as they beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 to win Group E. The Seagulls took the lead in the 22nd minute when Colombian international Jorelyn Carabali headed in from a corner. They extended their lead in the 37th minute thanks to Tatiana Pinto’s finish following a free kick. Charlton’s best chance in the first half fell to Melissa Johnson but her shot was tipped behind by the Brighton goalkeeper.
Brighton had plenty of chances during the second half to extend their lead further but were denied by the woodwork, efforts being deflected off target and some good saves from the Addicks keeper Jess Gray. Charlton got a goal back in the second minute of additional time when Kayleigh Green found the net from close range. Gray made one final superb save to stop an effort from the Seagulls before the final whistle was blown.
Championship side Birmingham City caused an upset as they beat their Women’s Super League opponents West Ham United 2-1 in the other Group E game. Lily Agg gave the Blues the lead during the first half before Martha Harris scored their second early in the second half. Riko Ueki did find the net for the Hammers in stoppage time as their exited this season’s Conti Cup.
The sides that are in the quarter-finals at the moment are Chelsea, Aston Villa, Manchester City, London City Lionesses, Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. This line up could change when it is decided what, if any, punishment Aston Villa receive.