Oshoala absent as Arsenal Ladies secure Cup quarters spot


Super Falcons striker Assisat Oshoala was missing in action as Arsenal Ladies beat Birmingham City 5-3 on penalties to book their place in the FA Women’s Cup quarter-finals.

Former Arsenal star Freda Ayisi gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the first half, but Dan Carter scored a dramatic equalizer to take the game to extra time and then a shoot-out.

Arsenal boss Pedro Martinez Losa handed debuts to three players for the first competitive game of the season, as Fara Williams, Katie McCabe and Danielle Van de Donk started at Solihull Moors while Oshoala was not listed for the clash.

Elsewhere, Kelly Smith was named as a substitute following her recovery from an ankle injury that had ruled her out for the majority of last season.

While the Gunners were in the driving seat during the open exchanges, Ayisi slotted past Sari Van Veenendaal after racing through on goal to give the hosts a shock lead.

Nobbs came the closest to equalising before the break, but following a brilliant solo run, she could not provide the finishing touch.

Losa’s side thought they had levelled shortly after the interval, but the offside flag ruled out Natalia’s strike after Nobbs had teed her up.

It began to look as if Arsenal were going to crash out in the early stages of the tournament, but Carter had other ideas when she struck 11 minutes from the end.

Smith’s introduction almost paid off in extra time, but a fine save from Sophie Baggaley denied her from 25 yards out.

There was no separating the sides after 120 minutes, but thankfully for the visitors Williams, Natalia, Smith, Carter and Nobbs all converted their penalties in a tense shoot-out to send the Gunners into the quarter-finals.