Manchester City lifted their second FA Cup in three years thanks to three second half goals from Keria Wlash, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp. The win helped City claim a cup double having already lifted the Continental Cup (League cup) earlier in the season.
The SSE Women’s FA Cup final day is by far the biggest day in the women’s football calendar in England and now an established date in the Wembley calendar. With each year that passes the event grows as do the crowds The fan parks around the stadium have steadily grown and you can’t help but get swept up in the positivity of the event. A brief walk along Olmpica way from Wembey Park tube station to the stadium also shows that plenty of unofficial mechanise dealers have now cottoned on to the popularity of the sport with half and half Manchester City and West Ham scarves for sale a plenty. West Hams men’s side were entertaining Southampton across London on the same day but it was good to see many of the clubs fans in attendance with many leaving the London stadium at half time in order to watch their side in action at Wembley. Something the men’s side hasn’t achieved in the FA Cup since 1981.
Once inside the stadium it looked like both sides had roughly the same number of fans in with a good number of neutrals making up the crowd of 43,264. This may be a little down on the projected attendance but was more than respectful given the West Ham men’s game on the same day and the fact that no fans couldn’t get back to Manchester via train after the game due to engineering works.
On the pitch it was City who started the brightest with Nikitia Parris leading the line and giving West Ham plenty to think about. Both sides created several half chances each but we had to wait till the 28th minute for our first real chance and it fell to West Ham. Erin Simons cross in from the right split the City centre backs and found Scotland international. Jane Ross but her header was brilliantly saved by Karen Bardsley in the City goal. It was to be close as West Ham came to a goal with City manager Nick Cushing describing this as “Impacting the game more than anybody” in his post game press conference such was the importance of the save.
It took City only seven minutes of the second half to break the deadlock. Keria Walsh took a shot from 25 years out that took a slight deflection which seemed to take Hammers keeper Anna Moorhouse by surprise as the ball squirmed slowly past her. Although City now had the upper hand and the lion’s share of the play West Ham did have a great chance to equalize when Alisha Lehmana found herself outside the penalty box following a counter attacking move but her shot was to tame to trouble Bardsley. City made the game safe on 80 minutes when Stanway lead the Hammers defence a merry dance before finishing at Moorhouses far post.
Two minutes from the end Moorhouse had a rush of blood when charging out of her box to try and close down substituent Lauren Hemp however the 18 year coolly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to but the finishing touches on a composed and clinical City performance.