Second half goals from debutant Caitlin Foord and Danïelle van de Donk were enough for Arsenal to beat second-division Lewes in the 5th round of the Women’s FA Cup. The victory means Arsenal will face Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals on March 15.
Joe Montemurro handed a debut to Caitlin Foord, who started upfront, with Vivianne Miedema, who has been carrying a back injury, on the bench. Foord was supported by teenagers Mel Filis and Ruby Grant, who played in wide positions, with Van de Donk, Jordan Nobbs and Jill Roord in midfield. Foord only arrived in England last weekend, linking up with her teammates for the first time after her January transfer. That lack of training time was on show, as Foord was a step behind two excellent through balls from Nobbs and then Van de Donk, before Foord collected possession but saw her shot, into the wind, sail wide. From the left, Mel Filis’ strike hit the crossbar, and then Foord, pressing Lewes goalkeeper Sophie Harris won possession, but saw her guided left foot shot hit the post.
Arsenal started the second half with increasing sharpness as they sought to break through the packed Lewes defence. Finally, a rare Lewes foray gave the Gunners their chance: Roord carried the ball forward, and with Foord dragging the centre backs to the left, Roord had space to play in Van de Donk. Van de Donk’s shot was saved by Harris, but Foord was first to the rebound, squeezing the ball into the empty net.
Despite taking the lead, Montemurro brought senior players on from the bench, perhaps with a mind to giving them some mintues ahead of next week’s Continental Cup final with Chelsea. Miedema and Lisa Evans replaced Filis and Grant, while Leah Williamson came on for Viki Schnaderbeck, with Leonie Maier going to left back, Evans to right back, and Foord playing from the right in support of Miedema. In a supporting position, Foord was able to show some of her creative and link up ability, while also getting into good goal-scoring positions, missing Maier’s centre by inches.
Seconds later, it was two, with Lewes the architects of their downfall. Playing out from the back from a goal kick, Harris’ short pass was intercepted by Miedema, who set up a tap in for Van de Donk. Miedema herself could have made it three at the end, but she put Foord’s cross over the bar. In truth, 3-0 would’ve been harsh on Lewes, who were excellent defensively.
Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maier, Quinn, Beattie, Schnaderbeck (Williamson 72’); Roord, Nobbs, Van de Donk; Grant (Evans 65’), Foord, Filis (Miedema 65’)
Subs not used: Peyraud-Magnin, McCabe, Dawbarn, Albuquerque
Goals: Foord (54’), Van de Donk (84’)