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Arsenal 1 (Williamson 85)
att: 6,743; at Nottingham Forest FC>
Chelsea 2 (England 9,90)
Arsenal 1 (Williamson 85)
att: 6,743; at Nottingham Forest FC
Beth England scored an injury time winner as a resilient Chelsea side won the FA Women's Continental League Cup for the first time against Arsenal in a thrilling Final at the City Ground.
The victory completes a full set of major trophies for the Blues and keeps them in line for a potential 'treble' this season, but they needed to work hard under severe pressure from the Gunners during the second half with goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger in outstanding form.
Chelsea were the quicker side out of the blocks early on and it took a good save from Manuela Zinsberger to deny Guro Reiten after she had raced into the area from Sam Kerr's pass.
Barely a minute later, a deep cross into the area from Jonna Andersson was headed back across goal by Reiten, the Arsenal defence were unable to clear and England reacted quickest to hook the ball inside the far post for the opening goal.
The Gunners were inches away from equalising straight away as a Katie McCabe cross was met by Louise Quinn whose header was clawed away by Berger. The Chelsea keeper produced another fine save after Vivianne Miedema cut in from the goal line to produce a firm drive on target.
Chelsea hit back with England hitting the side netting with a header after losing her marker in the area, whilst Caitlin Foord drilled a shot inches wide on the stroke of half time following good work by Miedema.
The pace of the game in the first half had been frenetic and it showed little signs of slowing after the break, with Reiten the first to produce an effort on goal which flew narrowly over.
Arsenal started to seize the initiative and piled forward in search of an equaliser. McCabe saw a shot deflected wide following a free kick and moments later, Miedema won possession on the edge of the area before driving the ball just past the post.
Jordan Nobbs shot wide from the edge of the area and the excellent Berger was again called into action as she tipped a Miedema header past the post.
Berger then produced her best save to keep out Miedema with five minutes remaining as she looked destined to score after controlling a ball into the area by Foord before being denied at point blank range. From the resulting corner though, Leah Williamson's initial header was blocked and the defender coolly finished the rebound from five yards to level the scores.
It looked as though the momentum was now with Arsenal but Chelsea rallied from the setback and produced a sting in the tail with extra time looming.
As the game went into injury time, Kerr chased a long ball forward down the right and managed to keep possession under pressure, before feeding Maren Mjelde who skipped a challenge in the area before squaring across goal for an unmarked England to make no mistake at the far post.
Chelsea: Ann-Katrin Berger, Maren Mjelde, Jonna Andersson, Millie Bright, Magdalena Eriksson, Sophie Ingle, Erin Cuthbert, Sam Kerr (sub Drew Spence 90mins), Beth England, Ji So-Yun (sub Maria Thorisdottir 75mins), Guro Reiten. Subs not used: Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Jess Carter, Deanna Cooper, Ramona Bachmann.
Arsenal: Manuela Zinsberger, Lisa Evans, Katie McCabe, Victoria Schnaderbeck, Louise Quinn, Leah Williamson, Caitlin Foord, Jordan Nobbs, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, Jill Roord. Subs not used: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Leonie Maier, Ruby Grant, Melisa Filis, Ruby Mace.
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