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Chelsea 1 (Ji So-Yun 37) Notts County 0
att: 30,710; at Wembley Stadium
Chelsea won their first major trophy as a solitary first half goal from Ji So-Yun gave them victory in the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley.
The victory was a deserved one for Emma Hayes' side who created the majority of chances throughout the match and, in truth, were rarely threatened by Notts County who worked hard but could not pierce a solid Chelsea defence.
The opening stages of the game were understandably cagey and as a result, neither side had any sights on goal. County had the better of possession and looked the more settled side at that time but the first opportunity of note came Chelsea's way on the 21 minute mark when Ji So-Yun floated a free kick into the area and Niamh Fahey scooped her volley over the bar.
A hooked ball into the area by Ellen White caused uncertainty in the Chelsea area for a moment but Hannah Blundell was well placed to clear. However it was Chelsea who came close to breaking the deadlock on the half hour when Gemma Davison threaded a great pass for Eniola Aluko who took the ball past the oncoming Carly Telford but the angle was too acute and her shot hit the side netting.
Aluko again threatened when, after her initial pass had been intercepted, she won the ball back off Laura Bassett and stung the hands of Telford with a strike from the edge of the area.
Chelsea should have been in front on 35 minutes though as Aluko found space on the left and her far post cross reached Davison who looked certain to score, however the winger - with the goal gaping - somehow managed to put her shot wide of the far post.
The increasing pressure was to tell just two minutes later though, Millie Bright's pass feeding Aluko on the left and the striker got past Amy Turner before she rolled the ball to Ji So-Yun who, despite the efforts of Telford and Alex Greenwood, kept her composure to tuck the ball into the net for the opening goal.
Chelsea could have had another chance in the opening minute of the second half but Davison's cross came at too awkward a height for Aluko to turn goalwards.
The Blues continued to look comfortable until the hour mark when County produced their first serious efforts on goal. First, a corner was cleared as far as the edge of the area where Desiree Scott's deflected shot was inches past the post with Hedvig Lindahl seemingly beaten. The resulting kick was met by Leanne Crichton whose goalbound header was cleared off the line by Davison.
Back came Chelsea with Aluko breaking into the area on the right but her low ball was just intercepted by Walton before it could reach Davison. Chapman did well to win the ball back and work herself an opening but her 25-yard shot flew over the bar.
The Blues came even closer two minutes later as Aluko drove a low shot which looked to be arrowing towards the corner of the net but Telford came to her side's rescue with an excellent diving save.
Another great chance fell Chelsea's way on 72 minutes, from a corner which was returned back across goal by Fahey, Aluko's flick picked out an unmarked Gilly Flaherty in front of goal but she shot over the bar from point blank range.
County introduced Aileen Whelan as a substitute and she was quickly involved, chasing a long ball into the area but was unable to direct her shot on target.
Drew Spence fired a shot wide as Chelsea began to run down the clock in the dying minutes and County were unable to fashion a chance to take the game into extra time, Chelsea celebrations starting on the final whistle to mark the best day in the club's history to date.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko (sub Ana Marques Borges 80mins), Ji So-Yun (sub Laura Coombs 89mins), Drew Spence. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Jodie Brett, Marija Banusic.
Notts County: Carly Telford, Sophie Walton, Alex Greenwood, Danielle Buet (sub Aileen Whelan 75mins), Laura Bassett, Amy Turner, Jess Clarke, Rachel Williams (sub Dunia Susi 55mins), Ellen White, Leanne Crichton (sub Fiona O'Sullivan 82mins), Desiree Scott. Subs not used: Ashleigh Plumptre, Laura-Jayne O'Neill.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Drew Spence holds off Amy Turner
(middle) Eniola Aluko celebrates as Ji So-Yun scores the only goal of the game
(bottom) Chelsea with the SSE Women's FA Cup
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