FA Women's Cup final: Arsenal Ladies beat Bristol Academy

 

Arsenal Ladies clinched their 12th FA Women's Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Bristol Academy at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.

The reigning Super League champions opened the scoring inside two minutes when captain Steph Houghton headed in Rachel Yankey's left-wing cross.

Jordan Nobbs hit the post as Arsenal dominated the first half.

But she found the net on 72 minutes with a neatly placed header before Ellen White smashed in a third.

The Arsenal Ladies success story

Arsenal Ladies are the most successful women's club in England and have now won 39 major trophies since they were formed in 1987. Their record reads:

1x Uefa Champions League

2x FA Super League

12x FA Premier League

12x FA Women's Cup

2x FA WSL Continental Cup

10x FA Women's Premier League Cup

New Arsenal coach Shelley Kerr secured her first piece of silverware since taking charge of the Gunners four months ago and said: "We have been so successful in the past and the expectations have been so high.

"For me it's all about the players - they have been exceptional today. Before the game, I just said to them 'relax'. We have been playing good football and sometimes you just have to be patient to get results. I thought we won comfortably in the end."

Bristol's afternoon was made worse with a serious-looking knee injury to midfielder Lucy Staniforth, who was carried off on a stretcher in the second half.

The Vixens were seeking revenge for their defeat by Arsenal in the 2011 final but could not reproduce the form that has sent them top of the Women's Super League in the early days of the new season.

Although they did come back into the game after conceding Houghton's goal inside 90 seconds, Mark Sampson's side looked short of ideas in attack without Spanish play-maker Laura del Rio, who began the game on the bench because of a hamstring problem.

The closest they came to a reply was moments after Houghton's goal, when Corinne Yorston's corner rattled the near post and Jemma Rose blazed the rebound over.

Arsenal were much brighter in possession, enjoyed plenty of space in the Bristol half and also looked dangerous when breaking forward, especially with the pace of Nobbs - who hit the post after bursting into the Bristol area before the break.

It took some superb saves by Bristol's England keeper Siobhan Chamberlain to keep down the deficit before half-time, and her side initially improved after it.

Staniforth forced Arsenal keeper Emma Byrne into her first save of note with a swerving free-kick but she was carried off soon afterwards after appearing to catch her studs in the turf.

When play resumed, Arsenal quickly doubled their lead. Gemma Davison got the better of Corinne Yorston down the right and her cross was met at the far post by the onrushing Nobbs.

Nobbs ran clear again with six minutes left, only to be denied by the impressive Chamberlain, but Arsenal got the goal that sealed their latest triumph in stoppage time.

With Bristol throwing players forward in search of a goal, Arsenal cleared the ball up the pitch where Davison was waiting on the left. She teed up Nobbs inside the area and, although Chamberlain kept her shot out, White followed up to make it 3-0 from close range.

"We didn't really turn up," Chamberlain said afterwards. "We have been playing well in the league but here a lot of our players didn't perform as well as they can. It is disappointing, because we had a lot more to give."

Arsenal Ladies: Byrne, Scott, Flaherty, Grant, Beattie, Houghton, Nobbs, Little, Davison, Yankey, White. Subs: Spencer, Tracy, Carter, Bailey, Bruton.

Bristol Academy: Chamberlain, Dykes, Yorston, Matthews, Pablos Sanchon, Windell, Heatherson, Watts, Rose, Harding, Staniforth. Subs: Kyle, McCatty, Curson, Del Rio, James.