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Arsenal 4 (White 26, Ludlow 27, Yankey 64,83)
Birmingham City 1 (Christiansen 71)
att: 2,167; at Burton Albion F.C.
Arsenal completed the 'treble' after an awesome display of finishing saw them land the Continental Cup to end the hopes of Birmingham City, who have to settle for runners-up in both competitions.
Although they were not at their very best on the day, two goals in two first half minutes from Ellen White and Jayne Ludlow gave the Gunners control at the break and two brilliant finishes from Rachel Yankey completed the win, despite substitute Isobel Christiansen netting a consolation for the Blues.
The opening exchanges were even as both sides sought to take control of matters. Katie Chapman produced the first effort on goal, a wayward effort which cleared both bar and stand, then at the other end a Jo Potter free kick was flicked on by Kerys Harrop but comfortably held by Emma Byrne.
As Birmingham began to press, Potter unleashed another free kick from around 30 yards which sailed narrowly over the bar and then, on sixteen minutes, Jodie Taylor got the ball in the net but had been flagged offside from Rachel Williams' flick on.
An Arsenal break led to the clearest opening so far, Kim Little setting up Rachel Yankey whose shot was parried by Marie Hourihan and hooked clear by Emily Westwood. Birmingham could not get the ball away though and Chapman tried her luck from 25 yards, the ball deflecting off Westwood and onto the woodwork, Ellen White reacting quickest to tuck home the rebound.
Before Birmingham could recover from the setback, they found themselves two goals behind as Steph Houghton's pass released Danielle Carter down the right and the young winger's superb cross was headed powerfully in at the far post by Jayne Ludlow.
Dunia Susi made a good run into the area at the other end as she latched onto Taylor's pass but she was shut down quickly by three defenders and the danger was averted. Another dangerous Potter free kick was headed away by Ciara Grant as far as Chelsea Weston whose well struck volley was just over.
Birmingham then produced their best move so far, Susi exchanging passes with Williams before spreading the ball out to Carney on the left where her resulting cross was met by Williams but Byrne comfortably saved. Byrne again needed to be alert as she came off her line to smother from Taylor as she tried to get on a good through ball by Carney.
The second half began as the first half had finished with Arsenal content to keep things tight and hit on the break although there was a scare as a cross-cum-shot by Carney appeared to be dipping inside the far post before Byrne clawed the ball away.
Little found space in the Birmingham half and carried the ball towards goal where her left foot shot was palmed away by Hourihan. Back came Birmingham with Taylor nodding the ball down for Williams who fired her shot wide. The lively Taylor then forced a save from Byrne following a surging run into the area which had taken her past two defenders.
White sent a difficult header over the bar after Little had broken onto Carter's pass into the area but Birmingham, committed to attack, were next to go close. Byrne miscued a punch as far as Taylor who return shot flew straight at the Arsenal keeper.
A foul on White around 25 yards out led to Arsenal's next scoring chance and they took a firm grip on the game. Yankey curled her shot over the wall and a slight deflection off Williams took the ball past Hourihan, the ball going in off the underside of the bar to put the Gunners three ahead.
Birmingham introduced Isobel Christiansen as a substitute and the young midfielder made an immediate impact. Williams hit a shot which deflected and looped off Gilly Flaherty and, although Byrne looked poised to gather safely, Christiansen nipped in to touch the ball past her and reduce the arrears.
Arsenal were always dangerous on the break and one such move left them with four attackers against two defenders. Little slid the ball into the path of Yankey who was denied by a fine block from Bassett.
Any hopes of a Birmingham fightback were firmly ended with seven minutes remaining through a strike of the highest quality. Ludlow won the ball and found Yankey who took one touch before turning and crashing a unstoppable volley over Hourihan and into the back of the net.
It could have been worse for the Blues as Weston slipped to allow Jennifer Beattie the chance to run through on goal. She set up the chance for Little but Hourihan did well to deny her with a good save. The resulting corner was headed on by Beattie but Flaherty could not turn the ball goalwards.
Things got a little heated in the dying minutes as Yankey and Weston initially clashed and in the resulting melee, Williams was shown a second yellow card for raising her hands against Little, meaning a sad end to a magnificent season for the England striker.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Niamh Fahey, Jayne Ludlow, Gilly Flaherty, Katie Chapman, Ciara Grant, Kim Little, Ellen White (sub Jennifer Beattie 86mins), Danielle Carter (sub Jordan Nobbs 68mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Yvonne Tracy, Hayley Ladd.
Birmingham City: Marie Hourihan, Chelsea Weston, Kerys Harrop, Jade Moore, Emily Westwood, Laura Bassett, Dunia Susi (sub Isobel Christiansen 70mins), Rachel Williams, Jodie Taylor, Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Leanne Hall, Sally Stanton, Eartha Pond, Marie Ballard.
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