The FA Women’s Premier League Cup was introduced after English football’s governing body had taken over the running of the women’s game and is now open to clubs playing in the Premier League’s National Division, Northern Division and Southern Division.
Wimbledon were the first winners in 1995 but Arsenal have been the dominant team so far, lifting the trophy no fewer than six times.
The 1996 match between Wembley and Doncaster Belles on Barnet’s sloping Underhill pitch was the classic Final. Wembley had begun life as District Line FC
, because many of their players worked on the London Underground, and the club came from nowhere to be a major force in the mid-1990s.
The hugely talented Kelly Smith and rugged defender Carol Harwood, who both became England internationals, featured in a Wembley side that held the famous Belles to a 2-2 draw in the Final before ultimately triumphing on penalties. The nerveless Wembley players scored five out of five in the shootout.
Arsenal beat Croydon, again on penalties, after a 0-0 draw in the 1998 Final and went on to complete four successive Final victories. In 2002 the new guard of Fulham and Birmingham City contested what turned out to be a one-sided Final at Wycombe. A vociferous crowd at Adams Park, together with a packed press box and seven TV crews, saw a Fulham side inspired by Katie Chapman win 7-1.
The Londoners retained The Cup after beating arch-rivals Arsenal in a shootout. The match at Swindon’s County Ground finished 1-1 after late goals from Rachel Yankey and Ciara Grant, and it was left to Fulham’s Kim Jerray-Silver to net the decisive spot-kick to clinch the trophy.
Fulham appeared in their third successive Final in 2004, but found Charlton Athletic too strong for them this time. Charlton substitute Emma Coss had only been on the Underhill pitch for a couple of minutes when she rose to direct a far-post header into the net from Eartha Pond’s corner for the goal that won The Cup.
“It’s not nice, having to start a Final on the subs’ bench”, said Emma afterwards, “but to come on and score was a dream come true”.
Arsenal have appeared in each of the last four Finals, winning in 2005 against Charlton and two years ago when Jayne Ludlow’s last-minute volley beat Leeds United at Glanford Park. Amy Kane’s goal for Everton in 2008 denied another trophy to the Gunners, who went on to appear in their tenth Final in the following year.Previous Finals
1992-93: Arsenal 3-0 Knowsley
1993-94: Arsenal 4-0 Doncaster Belles
1994-95: Wimbledon 2-0 Villa Aztecs
1995-96: Wembley 2-2 Doncaster Belles (Wembley won on penalties)
1996-97: Millwall 2-1 Everton
1997-98: Arsenal 0-0 Croydon (Arsenal won on penalties)
1998-99: Arsenal 3-1 Everton
1999-00: Arsenal 4-1 Croydon
2000-01: Arsenal 3-0 Tranmere Rovers
2001-02: Fulham 7-1 Birmingham City
2002-03: Arsenal 1-1 Fulham (Fulham won on penalties)
2003-04: Charlton 1-0 Fulham
2004-05: Charlton Athletic 0-3 Arsenal 2005-06: Arsenal 1-2 Charlton Athletic
2006-07: Leeds United 0-1 Arsenal
2007-08: Everton 1-0 Arsenal
2008-09: Arsenal 5-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles
2009-10: Leeds Carnegie 3-1 Everton