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Manchester City 1 (Christiansen 72) Arsenal 0
att: 3,697; at Wycombe Wanderers F.C.
A second half header from Issy Christiansen gave Manchester City their first ever major trophy and ended Arsenal's hopes of winning the Continental Cup for the fourth successive year.
In front of a good attendance at Adams Park, a scrappy match was settled by a good move and finish and was worthy of winning the game against a subdued Arsenal side which created little of note during the ninety minutes.
Arsenal did carve out the first chance with three minutes on the clock, Yukari Kinga winning possession in midfield and finding Danielle Carter who threaded a pass into the path of Jordan Nobbs to fire a shot just wide.
City had an escape when, under pressure from Shinobu Ohno, a poor clearance from Karen Bardsley went straight to Rachel Yankey but the experienced winger failed to hit the target.
Arsenal continued to dictate possession but chances were scarce at either end as defences dominated. City's first opportunity of note came on the half hour from a corner, Jill Scott attempting a snap shot on the turn but it flew harmlessly wide.
City then had an escape when they were caught flat footed from a throw and Carter got past a challenge from Emma Lipman but found the angle a little too tight and her shot was parried away by Bardsley at the near post.
Arsenal could well have taken the lead in first half injury time when Ohno chased down Nobbs' pass into the area and crossed to the far post but Yankey's first touch was uncharacteristically heavy and Bardsley was able to gather.
A disappointing first half ended with the scoreline goalless and things showed little sign of improving immediately after the restart. Krystle Johnston flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal which Duggan could not reach but this was a rare glimpse on goal for either side in the opening twenty minutes.
The game burst into life with a powerfully struck free kick by Steph Houghton which was well saved by Emma Byrne and Kelly Smith also driving a set piece straight at Bardsley at the other end.
With eighteen minutes remaining, the stalemate was finally broken by the best move of the game. Scott spread the ball out wide to Johnston on the right, the winger whipping in a delightful cross for Christiansen who got inbetween two defenders before guiding her header past Byrne to put her side in front.
Arsenal tried to respond with a long range shot by Yankey which was comfortably held by Bardsley but City were growing in confidence and Toni Duggan, who had been kept quiet for most of the night, made a strong run towards goal but her shot lacked power and Byrne was able to save.
A Houghton free kick almost led to a second but her powerful strike was touched onto the bar by Byrne and Emma Mitchell did really well to charge down Natasha Flint's goalbound shot from the rebound.
Nobbs shot straight at Bardsley at the other end and Freda Ayisi dragged a shot wide but Arsenal could not get going and City's back four, with the impressive Keira Walsh in front of them, defended superbly to close the game out under late pressure.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Nicki Harding, Georgia Brougham, Keira Walsh, Emma Lipman (sub Kathleen Radtke 62mins), Steph Houghton, Krystle Johnston, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Natasha Flint, Issy Christiansen. Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Chelsea Nightingale, Betsy Hassett, Emma Kete, Danielle Young.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Yukari Kinga (sub Kelly Smith 62mins), Casey Stoney, Niamh Fahey, Shinobu Ohno (sub Freda Ayisi 79mins), Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Leah Williamson, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Siobhan Chamberlain, Christie Murray, Caroline Weir, Jade Bailey, Vyan Sampson.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Leah Williamson in pursuit of winning goalscorer Issy Christiansen
(middle) Krystle Johnston challenges Emma Mitchell
(bottom) Celebration time for Manchester City!
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