Hannah Gowland struck an astonishing six-minute hat-trick, as West Ham United Ladies put 13 past Witham Town to book their place in the last four of the Essex FA County Cup. 

With last week's FA Cup exit at Leeds United still fresh in the memory, the Hammers set about shaking off that disappointment with a superlative showing in a 13-2 win at Thurrock FC.   

Though it took Julia Setford's side 13 minutes to break the deadlock, April Bowers' opener was to spark an onslaught, as the home side proceeded to run riot.

Becky Merritt made it two with 16 on the clock, before Gowland set to work on killing the cup tie before the interval. The prolific forward, who has now struck an eye-watering seven times in four starts since her switch from Colchester United, bagged her first triple in claret and blue with goals in the 20th, 22nd and 26th minutes.

And so it went on. Kelley Blanchflower joined the party, notching a first-half double, either side of Bowers' second of the afternoon to make it eight without reply at the break.

Despite the sizeable deficit, Witham Town, who ply their trade in the Essex County League, responded with a commendable second-half showing, twice breaching the Hammers' defence.

West Ham, meanwhile, continued to rack up the goals at the other end, with Sam Rowland getting in on the act, before Bowers took her impressive tally to four. It was left to Blanchflower to complete the rout, as she clocked up her third and West Ham's 13th.

Victory will see the Hammers visit holders Colchester for Sunday's semi-final, in a rematch of last year's final. Setford's side will be looking to avenge their penalty-shootout defeat, after it had ended two goals apiece in 120 minutes. The U's cruised into the last four with a convincing 9-0 win over Barking Ladies.

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