Rachel Williams is Man Utd's hero! Super sub sends Red Devils to first EVER Women's FA Cup final in five-goal thriller against Brighton
- Brighton opened scoring & troubled United
- But Williams scored dramatic late winner
- United women reach first major final in their history
TELL ME MORE: Neither side had reached a major final in their history and the desire was clear for all to see from the off at Leigh Sports Village. Brighton were gifted an early opener when Mary Earps inexplicably turned Veatriki Sarri's cross into her own net. But WSL leaders United showed their quality and turned it up a gear after the break, Leah Galton equalising after just two minutes before Alessia Russo made it 2-1 with a stunning finish against her former club.
The win looked to be in the bag but the match offered another turn, with experienced forward Danielle Carter equalising for the Seagulls on the counter attack. With minutes on the clock the semi-final was on the verge of a shootout, but United pounced when Brighton refused to kick the ball out of play for Poppy Robinson's late injury. Substitute Rachel Williams was played through and finished expertly to seal a historic victory for Marc Skinner's side, in what was a thrilling encounter between two sides at opposite ends of the WSL table.
THE MVP: Saturday's top performers ebbed and flowed like the match itself, with Galton and Russo putting in stunning performances for United before Carter looked to be the hero for Brighton. But when it mattered most, Rachel Williams stepped up to turn home to ensure the hosts were on the right side of Saturday's five-goal thriller. The veteran forward used her experience to compose herself one-on-one and finish expertly in the dying embers, setting up a Wembley date with either Chelsea or Aston Villa on May 14.
THE BIG LOSER: Before William's heroics, it was two United errors that had led to Brighton goals. Earps was at fault for the first but atoned for her mistake with a fine save in the second half, but Millie Turner really won't want to see her defending again for Brighton's second. Relatively unopposed, the Red Devils centre-back was too lackadaisical in approaching the ball, and allowed the speedy Carter to pounce out of nowhere. If United are to keep a grip on top spot in the WSL - with Chelsea just behind them - Turner will need to ensure mistakes like that aren't repeated.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? United will find out their final opponents after Sunday's second semi-final between Chelsea and Villa. After that, Skinner will lead his players out in a tough task against Arsenal in the league on April 19.
MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE): ⭐⭐⭐⭐