BIRMINGHAM needed penalties to defeat Chelsea yesterday as they booked their place in the FA Cup final, where they will meet Super League champions Manchester City.
The final at Wembley will be a repeat of last season’s League Cup final, which City won 1-0.
Eni Aluko and Millie Bright missed from the spot for Chelsea, who needed a late Drew Spence strike to take the match to extra time.
Birmingham took the lead midway through the second-half through a Meaghan Sargeant header but struggled to hold on, conceding with three minutes left of the match.
However, after defending resolutely in extra time, and holding their nerve from 12-yards out, Ellen White stepped up for Birmingham and buried her penalty to send Marc Skinner’s side through to the final.
It was a difficult afternoon for Emma Hayes’s side, who were denied a third-consecutive trip to Wembley, and ended what has been a difficult season.
Hedvig Lindahl suffered a minor injury in training, with Fran Kitching replacing her in goal and, with the score 1-0, the Blues had legitimate shouts for a penalty ignored when Spence was bundled over in the area.
For City, they will be looking to keep their brilliant 12 months going, as Melissa Lawley’s goal meant the club remain undefeated in all competitions for over a year and continue their bid to lift five trophies in the space of nine months.
It will be the first time the club will play in the FA Cup final, the only domestic trophy they are yet to lift, and Nick Cushing’s side were well worth the victory.
Liverpool struggled to get going as City dominated from start to finish and were unfortunate to not win by a more comfortable margin.
Lawley’s brilliant strike 10 minutes after the break was enough to settle the game, with the Reds’ best chance coming from Caroline Weir’s long distance effort late-on, which was easily saved by City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.
City are aiming to become the first side to hold all three major domestic club honours at the same time since Arsenal in 2011.