Ladies win through to semis

West Ham United Ladies are through to the Essex FA Women's Cup semi-finals after a 3-0 victory at Billericay Town.

Kelley Blanchflower netted her tenth goal of the season as the Hammers saw off the challenge of the Eastern Region Women's Premier side.

Blanchflower opened the scoring in the tenth minute, finishing expertly from a tight angle after latching on to a through ball from April Bowers.

The in-form striker was then denied twice by goalkeeper Robin Strauss as the Hammers struggled to break down a stubborn Billericay defence, meaning Julia Setford's side were forced to settle for a one-goal advantage at half-time.

Setford made three substitutions at the interval in a bid to liven things up, but Billericay continued to hold their own, with Strauss in outstanding form between the sticks.

West Ham had the perfect opportunity to double their lead on 62 minutes when Jess Barling was brought down inside the box, only for Strauss to save Becky Merritt's penalty.

Billericay came close to equalising before the Hammers were awarded a debateable second penalty for handball. This time, Bowers made no mistake.

The tie was made safe with three minutes remaining when Merritt netted West Ham's third to send them through to the last four.

The Hammers resume their FA Women's Premier League South promotion challenge when they travel to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday. The Ladies lie four points behind leaders Colchester United with two games to play.

Colchester have finished their complement of fixtures, while third-place Portsmouth are a point behind the Hammers with three matches remaining.