Chelsea have won the Women’s FA Cup final for the third straight season after a hard-fought, dramatic, and mostly entertaining 1-0 victory over Manchester United in front of a record crowd at Wembley.
United made a very bright start to the game, and had the ball in the back of the net inside the first thirty seconds. Thankfully, Leah Galton’s effort was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.
After surviving the first ten minutes, and an injury scare to Melanie Leupolz, Chelsea settled down but continued to sit back and play largely on the counter, posing little threat, with United controlling proceedings.
Ann-Katrin Berger made an excellent save just past the half-hour of the Women’s FA Cup final mark to keep things level, then Galton missed a point-blank chance, before Chelsea broke forward with purpose and almost snatched the lead. But Lauren James’ deflected header was pushed onto the post by Mary Earps and the two teams headed into the break scoreless.
United made a barnstorming start to the second half as well, and will probably wonder how they didn’t manage to convert that dominance into a goal. Emma Hayes rang the changes just ten minutes into the half to try to stem the tide, bringing on Sophie Ingle and Pernille Harder.
And Harder almost made an instant impact, but was unable to convert Sam Kerr’s threaded ball into the box from the left flank, after she was found for the first time all game with a searching long ball. Chelsea came close a few minutes later as well, but this time Harder couldn’t find the right ball from a tight angle.
But Chelsea did find the breakthrough right after, Harder setting up Kerr at the far post to break the deadlock on 68 minutes.
Sophie Ingle missed a glorious chance (set up by Kerr) to make the result safe with 10 minutes to go, but it didn’t matter in the end as Chelsea were able to close out the game — a bit of heroic defending in the final seconds — and win the FA Cup!