City return to the top at the end of the half, but West Ham will be satisfied with their aim to get back into the game just before the break. Tie a lot in the second half.
45 mins: Suddenly West Ham look like the team from the early stages of the game, playing with a little more confidence and determination. Two more minutes.
West Ham are back! It’s a great game from Leon to slip Lisa Evans behind City’s back line. Coming in from the right, Evans gets to the ball past Roebuck and keeps his composure to insert the ball into an unguarded net.
Disaster for Flaherty. The defender’s loose pass through her own 18-yard box is easily intercepted by Kelly and the City striker is not mistaken with the finish. These are the kind of sloppy mistakes that West Ham simply cannot afford to face against a team of this quality. Real shame.
33 mins: West Ham have to work very hard as City keep the ball. It seems vital that they get through this period without conceding to keep their hopes of upset alive.
29 mins: Weir frees White from behind and Flaherty must make a perfect one-inch tackle into the box to stop the England striker from doubling the lead.
27 mins: Hemp bursts into the box and fires a shot directly overhead. The city is building up pressure now.
26 mins: Now that seems like a daunting task for West Ham. Suddenly City look confident and the home side can’t feel the ball. City think they have a second as Bronze comes to the boundary line and finds White with a cross, but the assistant deems the ball out of play.
Keira Walsh crushes a tracer ball effort against the bar from all 25 yards and White gets in first on the rebound to give City the lead, a classic poacher goal.
19 mins: City are forced to stay long against heavy press from West Ham. Lauren Hemp picks up one of those search balls and beats a few West Ham defenders before Gilly Flaherty steps in to deal with the situation. It looks a bit awkward but any penalty cries are quickly dismissed.
16 mins: First sustained pressure from City as they spin the ball in the final third, eventually it was Weir who fired a shot just past the post from the edge of the area via a deflection. West Ham take care of the corner.
13 mins: Lisa Evans and Brynjarsdóttir combine a big chance for West Ham as Greenwood feeds the ball into midfield. The Iceland international has the opportunity to shoot as the ball burrows through but Roebuck comes out quickly to close the angle. Real letting go.
11 minutes: West Ham are really trying to stretch the game and go down the flanks. Ellie Roebuck needs to be sharp to cut off a Tameka Yallop cross from the left.
9 minutes: Dagný Brynjarsdóttir receives treatment for a stroke.
6 minutes: Chance for White as she struggles to hit a Caroline Weir cross on the right, but the England striker can’t connect with a diving header from inside the penalty area.
4 minutes: City try to drop the ball and play but West Ham do a good job pressing high. Kennedy and Greenwood are happy to play at fullback looking for an opening.
2 minutes : West Ham get off to a flying start and win a free-kick down the right side which Adriana Leon drifts into. There is a bit of a mess in the box but White eventually clears for City.
1 minute: The players walk out into the sunshine of Chigwell Construction Stadium to cheers from the main stand. West Ham win the coin toss and kick off.
Harder makes a switch for West Ham as defender Hawa Cissoko is benched in favor of Katerina Svitková. The Czech international has been one of the Irons’ main goal threats this season, with three assists and two goals.
Pre-match doubts for City, Alex Greenwood and Alanna Kennedy are both fit enough to start. Ten-goal pair Chloe Kelly and Ellen White return, as does Laura Coombs. Georgia Stanway, Khadija Shaw and Hayley Raso give way.
West Ham (3-5-2): Arnold, Fisk, Flaherty, Parker, Longhurst, Hasegawa, Brynjarsdóttir, Evans, Svitková, Yallop, Leon
Subtitles: Wyne, Stringer, Snerle, Walker, Filis, Joel, Cissoko, Moore, Houssein
Manchester City (4-3-3): Deer, Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood, Stokes, Walsh, Combes, Weir, Kelly, Hemp, White
Subtitles: Keating, Taieb, Shaw, Angeldahl, Stanway, Mace, Raso, Benameur
Manchester City enter this semi-final as heavy favourites, but know that to progress they must overcome one of the few teams to beat them on the home front this season. West Ham, now firmly established in the Women’s Super League, won 2-0 at the Academy Stadium in October as Gareth Taylor’s side struggled to find their feet at the start of the season.
City are now on an upward curve, with five wins in their last five league and cup outings. One of them was a 2-0 victory at West Ham in their last WSL match earlier this month. However, Irons head coach Olli Harder has prepared his side to put up a defensive wall at Chigwell Construction Stadium as they attempt to continue what he describes as West Ham’s ‘fantastic history’ in the Women’s FA Cup this season.
It is the first time in this season’s competition that West Ham will have the backing of their home fans, with each of their three wins to date coming on the road. If West Ham cause an upset and reach the final, it will be the second time in the last four seasons that they have reached the final. The last time out ended in a 3-0 defeat at Wembley against – you guessed it – Manchester City.