GARETH TAYLOR hailed Khiara Keating after Manchester City stood firm against Arsenal to end the Gunners’ FA Cup run.
The goalkeeper shone despite being jeered by her opponents’ raucous fans during City’s 1-0 fifth-round victory.
The result came three months after an error from Keating saw the Gunners beat 2-1 in the WSL.
City chief Taylor said: “This is like redemption for her. What was going on inside (her head) I don’t know.
“But I think she’s been preparing herself for weeks. She has been telling me that.
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“Khiara was excellent with what she had to do and what she had to go through – particularly at the beginning of the game with the verbals from the crowd.
“Arsenal make it a cauldron here (at Meadow Park) but she handled it really well.
“The fans do get behind them and they really keep going and don’t stop.
“But their attentions turned elsewhere after a while with Khiara which is good and shows you she was doing something right.
“But I think it’s fantastic for a young player to know that you’re going to make mistakes in the game and that’s how you react. And she’s reacted so well since then.”
Some classy Keating saves late on in the game, including a stunning top corner stop, were among the efforts that saw Jonas Eidevall’s aces denied.
And her shift was watched by England boss Sarina Wiegman who was in the stands ahead of the Lionesses’ friendlies against Austria and Italy this month.
Taylor added: “It was just really nice for her to come away (with a clean sheet and win).
“Sometimes, there are skeletons in the wardrobe and there are skeletons that you’ve had in your career where you go to certain games (and grounds).
“I’ve had it myself (as a player) where I’ve thought, ‘it’s a nightmare and I never played well in this stadium’, so it’s really nice when you flip it the other way.”
The early stages of the game saw both sides struggle to find a cutting edge.
Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord went closest in front of goal in with a shot prompting a 13th-minute save from Keating.
Later in the half City saw pleas for penalty waves away after Lotte Wubben-Moy appeared to elbow Khadija Shaw during an aerial duel.
And Shaw prompted a brilliant save from Gunners’ goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo pushing her header away from its top corner target in the 61st minute.
The deadlock was broken 14 minutes later with Laia Aleixandri poking home following Chloe Kelly’s free-kick.
City then faced a late barrage including a Victoria Pelova goal-bound header palmed away by Keating with keeper later tipping Kim Little’s volley over the bar.
The hosts felt they may have had a goal with Keating’s catch initially appearing’ as if it had crossed the line.
But City held out to secure a win with Arsenal falling to a second defeat in a row across all contests.
Gunners boss Eidevall said: “It was a very tight game. We’re gutted because we were on the wrong side of every margin. It’s a tough one to take.”
A league cup last eight duel is up next for Arsenal with the title chasers visiting London City Lionesses on Wednesday.
On if a silverware win this term is crucial with the team having lifted one trophy in the past five years, Eidevall added: “We want to compete in every competition.
“That’s the ambition otherwise you shouldn’t be in this club or represent this club.
“We want to win both competitions that we’re still in. That’s how ambitious we need to be.
“We also need to understand it’s a lot of hard work. It’s not entirely in our own control either.”