Manchester City striker Nikita Parris is counting down the days to the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final – but admits their semi-final win over Chelsea left a sour taste in the mouth.
City progressed after a freak stoppage-time own goal in from Chelsea defender Magdalena Eriksson, after Emma Hayes’ side had had the better of the game.
Parris was pictured comforting Eriksson after full-time, a touching moment after a hard-fought 90 minutes.
“It was just a cruel moment to end the game,” Parris admitted.
“I said something like, ‘You played a great game, keep your head held high. You’ve done unbelievably well, football can be cruel’.
“She could do that kick a thousand times and it would never go in the back of the net like it did.
“For us, obviously as a team we were elated to win it but, in that moment, I wasn’t feeling happy to be honest.
“I felt sombre, I didn’t feel like I was celebrating, I didn’t feel like we’d just won a game to get us to an FA Cup Final. It was such a cruel way to end the game and in the balance of the game, it probably wasn’t deserved.”
Parris played in the final two years ago as City claimed their first FA Cup win with a 4-1 victory over Birmingham City.
Although she wasn’t on the scoresheet that day, the experience of winning the trophy in front of 35,000 fans ranks as one of the high points of her career so far.
“It’s pure excitement and joy,” she said.
“If you’ve ever seen the video, I went crazy, I was so ecstatic.
“It was my first time at Wembley and I’d dreamed as a young girl of playing there, playing in an FA Cup Final, winning the trophy.
“I remember sitting in the stands in 2010 watching Everton beat Arsenal, Tash Dowie scoring the winner, and I went absolutely crazy because I’d just become a part of that team.
“There’s no better feeling. Your whole journey is leading to that point, you reflect back on when you were a child – sitting on the couch I used to watch Julie Fleeting score goals for fun in the FA Cup.”
City are second in the league and already have a Continental Cup win this season, and Parris was happy to be recognised after a successful campaign.
“I think it symbolises our season, we’ve had a fantastic season,” she said.
“We haven’t been beaten in the league, yet we sit second. If Arsenal go on to lift that trophy it will be fully deserved, but I think our girls have done fantastic throughout the year and it really shows with the awards.”
As the energy behind women’s football, SSE’s ambition is to support girls of all ages in England, helping them join in football from grassroots to the elite level. For more information on SSE’s sponsorships and activities visit sse.co.uk