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Arsenal 1 (Carter 17) Chelsea 0
att: 32,912; at Wembley Stadium
A brilliant first half strike by Danielle Carter gave Arsenal their 14th FA Cup success as they deservedly won an entertaining encounter in front of a record crowd at Wembley.
Cast in the unusual role of being underdogs, the Gunners rose to the occasion with their older players, notably Kelly Smith and Casey Stoney, having excellent games and preventing holders Chelsea from getting into their stride all game.
Arsenal were close to taking a first minute lead when a miscued pass from Gilly Flaherty found its way to Carter whose first time attempted lob was fractionally too high.
Arsenal continued to look the more settled side in the opening stages with Fara Williams drilling a free kick over the bar and they were rewarded on 17 minutes with a goal worthy of the occasion.
Williams clipped a fine crossfield pass out to the left which found Carter, who teased Hannah Blundell and drew another defender before curling a delightful shot past Hedvig Lindahl and into the far top corner to give the Gunners the lead.
Chelsea responded well to the setback with Blundell's pass playing in Fran Kirby whose shot was kept out by the legs of Sari Van Veenendaal at her near post. The resulting corner, taken quickly, was played back to Ana Borges but, under pressure from Van Veenendaal, Drew Spence was only able to loop a header onto the roof of the net.
At the other end, a fine last ditch tackle from Katie Chapman denied Kelly Smith after Asisat Oshoala and Jordan Nobbs had combined well. Chelsea were soon to create another great opportunity though with Gemma Davison making a driving run towards the area where she squared the ball across for Ji So-Yun who lifted her shot over.
Spence fired over from Carney's cut back but Arsenal should really have been two ahead on 42 minutes. Smith rolled an inch perfect pass into the path of Oshoala who scuffed her shot with only Lindahl to beat, allowing Millie Bright to clear. A minute later, Carter tested Lindahl from distance after wriggling past Chapman but Arsenal had to settle for their one-goal lead at the break.
Arsenal were quickly into their stride from the restart with Oshoala racing into the area and bringing out a near post save from Lindahl. A minute later, Oshoala tricked her way past Borges with a neat piece of skill and her cross picked out Smith who header hit the bar from inside the six yard area.
Smith was dictating matters at this stage and another good pass released Carter in the area and Lindahl needed to divert her goalbound shot away with her legs.
Chelsea introduced Eniola Aluko up front and she tried a similar strike to Carter's from a similar position, but it sailed harmlessly off target. Back came Arsenal and another neat through ball from Smith put Oshoala through on goal but Lindahl once again came to Chelsea's rescue with a vital block.
Josephine Henning headed a good chance wide from a corner but as the game reached the midway point, a even better one was passed up by Chelsea. Borges' corner was flicked on by Flaherty to unmarked Ji, who took a touch before planting her shot over the bar.
Beth England's first touch after coming on as a substitute could have resulted in a goal but Alex Scott slid in to make a superb block from her shot. Arsenal immediately counter attacked and an equally good piece of defending from Blundell denied Carter as she threatened to score her second.
As the game headed into the last few minutes, Chelsea threw all they could at Arsenal to try and take it into extra time. Davison had largely been kept quiet by Emma Mitchell for most of the game but a good run took her into the area but Kirby's hooked shot was the wrong side of the post. Then, after a corner had been cleared, Aluko played a good cross into the far post but Niahm Fahey could not get enough power in her shot at full stretch.
Arsenal repelled Chelsea's late efforts and, with Stoney in fine form alongside Henning in the centre, were able to run down the clock and celebrations got underway just moments later.
Arsenal: Sari Van Veenendaal, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Fara Williams (sub Dominique Janssen 73mins), Casey Stoney, Vicky Losada, Josephine Henning, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Kelly Smith (sub Danielle Van De Donk 73mins), Asisat Oshoala (sub Leah Williamson 88mins). Subs not used: Emma Byrne, Natalia Pablos Sanchon.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Ana Borges, Hannah Blundell, Millie Bright (sub Beth England 78mins), Gilly Flaherty, Katie Chapman, Gemma Davison, Karen Carney (sub Eniola Aluko 54mins), Fran Kirby, Ji So-Yun, Drew Spence (sub Niamh Fahey 45mins). Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Claire Rafferty.
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