Manchester United are into the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time since 2018/19 after eventually brushing second tier Durham side on Sunday.
Durham have been something of a bogey team for United for several years and it wasn’t until the closing stages of the first half that Vilde Boe Risa got the WSL leaders ahead.
From there, the goals flowed a little more easily, with Leah Galton, Hannah Blundell and substitutes Nikita Parris and Alessia Russo ultimately running up the score-line.
United dominated the early stages without really testing Durham goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon – a moment of confusion between McAloon and centre-back Sarah Robson almost caused disaster, but the danger was averted and the subsequent corner posing no threat.
United went close midway through the first half when Vilde Boe Risa slid in Galton to the left of the Durham box, with her shot cleared off the line by Grace Ayre.
The Norwegian has scored several times in cup competitions this season and added to her tally from 25 yards, expertly bending the ball over the Durham wall and into the left top corner.
Having finally made the breakthrough, United would have been hoping to build on it and returned a few minutes early for the second half.
It wasn’t too long after that Galton had got the killer second to end any chance of Durham getting back into the contest.
Eventually, Ona Batlle found Blundell on the opposite of the box, with the left-back by then on the right, sweeping the ball in with a first-time half volley.
The fourth goal from Russo was easy as you like, a Zelem corner headed in by the unmarked England striker.
Durham went close to a late consolation when Saoirse Noonan beat Mary Earps with an opportunistic half volley, only to see it rebound off the post.
And despite being so far ahead, United were looking still looking for a fifth and got it when Millie Turner head down a Zelem corner that was stabbed in almost on the line by the grateful Parris.