Chelsea have completed a memorable double after beating Manchester City 3-2 in the Women’s FA Cup final on Sunday afternoon.
Sam Kerr’s deflected goal in extra-time – her second of the game – was enough to snatch the win at Wembley. An additional 30 minutes were required when substitute Hayley Raso scored an 89th-minute equaliser for City, yet that only delayed the Blues.
Erin Cuthbert thought she’d won the game for Chelsea with a superb second-half strike, a goal worthy of winning any game. That came after a fascinating first half, which saw Chelsea’s Kerr and City’s Lauren Hemp find the back of the net.
Emma Hayes’ side have now won two consecutive doubles. They clinched the Women’s Super League title last weekend and have now added another trophy to their collection in front of 49,094 spectators – a record crowd for a Women’s FA Cup final.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to City’s Caroline Weir. A deflect cross from Hemp dropped into her path, yet the Scotland international blazed her strike over the bar. Moments later, Chelsea defender Millie Bright was forced to flung herself at efforts from Hemp and Weir to keep the score level. The WSL champions were on the ropes.
Yet Gareth Taylor’s side couldn’t make their advantage count and were punished by the FWA Footballer of the Year. Kerr, having already had a goal disallowed for offside, headed in a dangerous ball from Bright. That was Kerr’s 28th goal of the season.
Who was your Player of the Match? Let us know in the comments below!
City looked nervy after that. A mix up between England goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck and her defence almost doubled Chelsea’s advantage. City needed something special to wrestle momentum back from the Blues… and Hemp was on hand to supply it.
Running down the left, the 21-year-old cut back on to her right foot and curled an effort into the far corner. City then had a penalty shout just before half-time when Bunny Shaw went down in the box. Referee Kirsty Dowle waved play on, much to City’s frustration.
“It’s anyone’s guess who could take this,” said former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis on commentary, a claim few disagreed with at half-time. The final was set up perfectly for someone to do something special in the pouring Wembley rain.
The pulsating action continued in the second half. Both teams had chances in the opening five minutes, yet it was Hemp who came the closest to making it 2-1. The England international’s strike was closed down by Ann-Katrin Berger – a great piece of goalkeeping.
Then came the highlight of the game. Cuthbert was having a brilliant afternoon in London – it felt as if she would have a say in the result. Yet few were expected her to produce such a blockbuster, hitting the underside of the bar from distance to make it 2-1.
For a while, it seemed Cuthbert had scored the winner. City were struggling to break down a resilient defence and the engraver was getting ready to put Chelsea’s name on the cup. Yet Raso didn’t get the memo. The Australia international controlled a long, hopeful ball into the box and fired her effort past Berger to keep the game alive.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the final was decided by Kerr. On the break, the Aussie sprinted into City’s half and fired an effort at Roebuck. Alex Greenwood did well to get across and block the shot… only for the ball to roll into the net. Heartbreak for City, elation for Chelsea. The FA Cup will remain at Kingsmeadow for at least another year.