Coventry United through to FA Cup quarter-finals for first time in history

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The Coventry United squad huddles before the second half during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match between Charlton Athletic and Coventry United at Oakwood VCD on November 17, 2021 in Crayford, England. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

To say Coventry United have had a turbulent season is a complete understatement. Only two months ago, they were saved from the brink of extinction and now they’re in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Championship’s bottom side beat West Bromwich Albion 4-2 in an incident packed game in Sutton Coldfield.

Goals from Alanah Mann, Nat Johnson, Katie Wilkinson and Olivia Fergusson sealed the FA Cup fifth round win for Coventry.

Despite the scoreline, the Baggies were very much in the game and will feel some decisions didn’t go their way.

The Red and Greens now wait to see who they’ll face in the next round when the draw is made on Tuesday.

A resilient performance from West Brom

The Albion players can hold their heads high having competed with a team a tier higher than them. After a nervous start conceding two goals early on, Albion found their stride and pulled one back through Shannon Stamps.

The Baggies ramped up their pressure and must have felt the equaliser wouldn’t be far away.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Coventry had a corner whipped into the box. Skipper Wilkinson got on the end to smash the ball into the back of the net. Coventry restored their confidence and two goal advantage going into half-time.

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West Brom were determined to stay in the game and after 75 minutes they were rewarded for their efforts.

Coventry went down to ten players after Natalie Haigh pulled the shirt of Mariam Mahmood in the box and was sent off. West Brom were awarded the penalty and Leigh Dugmore calmly converted from the spot to make it 3-2.

With minutes to spare, Coventry sealed their victory courtesy of Liv Fergusson, who scored from close range to send United through.

Jay Bradford’s 150th game in charge

Jay Bradford has been with Coventry either as a player, coach or General Manager for 17 years. The FA Cup clash was her 150th game in charge as head coach.

Bradford commented: “I thought the game lacked tempo. We were asking the players to lift the tempo and bring the game away from West Brom.

“But the four goals were excellent and showed our class and our quality. The fourth goal where Freya Thomas set up Fergusson shows when we do bring an injection of pace, a bit of quality, that’s what we can do to teams.”

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Nat Johnson describes the winning feeling

Coventry full-back Nat Johnson said: “It’s been a rough few weeks so having this win today and getting through to the quarter-finals is magic for us.”

When the Red and Greens went down to ten players, the team regrouped.

“We knew West Brom were going to fight so we had to settle,” said Johnson. “Get back to our game, focus on us. We had a lot of possession so we just needed to keep calm at that time.”

History has been made with Coventry reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals. However, with three lower tier clubs still in the competition we could see a non-WSL make it through to the semi-finals.

The draw for the quarter finals of the Vitality FA Cup takes place at 09:15 GMT live on BBC One’s Morning Live show.

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