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Women's Football News
Arsenal 2 (Smith 14, Kinga 60) Everton 0
att: 15,098; at Milton Keynes Dons F.C.
Arsenal won the F.A.Women's Cup for the thirteenth time after a goal in each half saw them to a well earned victory which gave departing manager Shelley Kerr a trophy winning send off.
Kelly Smith sent them on their way with a peach of a free kick inside the opening quarter hour and Japanese international Yukari Kinga sewed up the win with a rare goal. Everton's young side battled gamely but were unable to contain an Arsenal team which looked up for the big occasion with Danielle Carter having an outstanding match on the wing.
Everton made a bright start with the pacey Nikita Parris racing on to a long ball and firing over the bar from just inside the area.
Rachel Brown-Finnis needed to quick off her line to come out and smother from Danielle Carter as she chased onto a shrewd Kelly Smith pass but Everton hit back with a great piece of play from Kelly Jones near the corner flag, where she nutmegged Emma Mitchell before sending in a cross which looked destined for the oncoming Parris but Millie Turner inadvertently touched the ball away from her.
Rachel Yankey was unlucky not to put the Gunners in front when she picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashed a shot which beat the dive of Brown-Finnis but crashed off the inside of the post and away to safety. Shinobo Ohno then made a strong run down the left and picked out Smith with her low cross but the England star scuffed her shot harmlessly wide.
However Smith was not to be denied and on 14 minutes, Alex Greenwood was penalised for a foul on Carter on the edge of the area. Smith stepped up to lift her shot over the wall and into the corner of the net to open the scoring.
Carter had a header deflected over the bar from a pinpoint cross by Smith whilst at the other end, a neat pass from Michelle Hinnigan found Brooke Chaplen in space and she tried her luck from outside the area with a low shot which was well dealt with by Emma Byrne.
Carter was looking lively and a neat piece of trickery took her away from Greenwood before carrying the ball to the edge of her area where her shot struck the outside of the post. It took a piece of alert defending from Lindsay Johnson to head away a goalbound free kick from the left by Ohno, the ball was returned across goal by Smith for Carter who tried to bundle it home but Brown-Finnis was able to save.
There was a scare for Arsenal on the stroke of half time when Hinnigan whipped in a dangerous cross for Kelly Jones, who appeared offside but almost managed to divert the ball past Byrne.
The woodwork was hit once again in the opening five minutes of the second half, Smith curling a delightful shot past Brown-Finnis but once more it came back off the post.
As the hour mark arrived, Arsenal took a firm grip on the game. Carter's ball into the area was seized on by Smith, who appeared to be held by George but play was waved on and Smith laid the ball into the path of Kinga who sidefooted past Brown-Finnis to double her side's lead.
Arsenal's tails were up now and they sought a quick third. Jade Bailey struck a powerful shot which was charged down by George and then Ohno cleverly exchanged passes with Carter before her shot brought out an excellent save from Brown-Finnis.
Scott fired a shot straight at Brown-Finnis following more good work by Carter and the winger was just off target with a strike from the edge of the area. Yankey also had an effort saved as Arsenal continued to dominate matters.
Everton tried to respond with Parris heading just wide from a free kick but Arsenal remained well in the ascendancy with substitute Leah Williamson having a couple of efforts on goal and Carter sending a free header wide from a Yankey free kick.
There was still time for Arsenal to hit the frame of the goal for a fourth time, Carter's initial shot was charged down by Johnson and Smith slid the rebound into the path of Mitchell whose effort came back off the bar.
This was the last effort on goal and Arsenal captain Kelly Smith was soon able to raise yet another trophy for the club.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Yukari Kinga, Casey Stoney, Niamh Fahey, Shinobu Ohno, Jade Bailey (sub Leah Williamson 74mins), Danielle Carter, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Christie Murray, Caroline Weir, Freda Ayisi.
Everton: Rachel Brown-Finnis, Vicky Jones (sub Billie Murphy 61mins), Alex Greenwood, Brooke Chaplen, Gabrielle George, Lindsay Johnson, Danielle Turner (sub Fern Whelan 81mins), Michelle Hinnigan, Nikita Parris, Millie Turner (sub Simone Magill 70mins), Kelly Jones. Subs not used: Megan Walsh, Lucy Whipp.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kelly Smith curls home the opening goal
(middle) Danielle Carter takes on Alex Greenwood
(bottom) Arsenal with the FA Women's Cup
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