The FA Tesco Women's Premier League Cup Final
7.35pm, Thursday 28 February 2008
Matchroom Stadium, Leyton Orient FC
Live on Sky Sports
Everton defied the odds to win their first silverware in a decade and end Arsenal's incredible unbeaten run, with Amy Kane scoring the goal that decided the Final.
Arsenal had conquered the Women's game in 2007 by winning an unprecedented quadruple, but Everton proved that the Gunners will not have it all their own way this year by winning the first final of the 2008.
Everton took the lead with a calmly placed effort from Amy Kane after just seven minutes. Natasha Dowie showed her determination to chase every loose ball as she challenged Faye White in the centre of the pitch, the ball ricocheted wide for Jill Scott who found Kane unmarked on the penalty spot and the Everton midfielder placed the ball in the bottom corner past the outstretched arm of Emma Byrne.
It was little more than Everton deserved for their positive approach in the opening moments, but it drew the expected response from Arsenal as the Gunners showed they were not going to give up their unbeaten record without a fight.
Faye White went close from a Karen Carney free-kick, narrowly missing the ball at the far post when a touch would have surely resulted in a goal, and moments later Kelly Smithwas denied by the fingertips of Danielle Hill.
Driving at the heart of the Arsenal defence Smith found space and attempted to lob the Everton keeper, only for Hill to touch the ball over the bar.
Smith then struck the bar with a measured effort from the edge of the area after Everton failed to clear a Carney corner. Smith controlled the ball before lifting it over the Everton defence, but the quick thinking of Emily Westwood rescued the Blues as she headed the ball onto the crossbar and Rachel Unitt cleared the ball upfield.
Hill almost suffered an embarassing moment as the half moved to a conclusion, in gathering a driven cross from Carney she lost her grip on the ball but was able to regain it before Sanderson could profit. Carney went close moments later as Emily Westwood was caught in possession by Sanderson, but Carney shot over the bar from 12 yards.
It was by no means one-way traffic and Everton could have doubled their lead in the moments before half-time, with the best chance falling to Natasha Dowie.
Rachel Unitt angled a fine free-kick into the area and Dowie found herself unmarked, six yards from goal, but was unable to make proper contact and the chance was lost.
Nine minutes into the second half Dowie spurned another golden chance as Emma Byrne kept Arsenal in the game with a crucial save. Dowie was picked out by Fara Williams and she beat the offside trap and raced in on goal, only for Byrne to dive at her feet and prevent a second goal for Mo Marley's side.
Everton battled and fought for every ball and held Arsenal at arms length for much of the second period, but with ten minutes remaining Julie Fleeting could have snatched an equaliser when she got on the end of a Rachel Yankey cross. Alex Scott found Yankey, and the England international crossed only for Fleeting to reach the ball late and head narrowly wide.
Anita Asante went close in injury time, but it was Everton who were celebrating the final whistle as they won their first trophy in ten years.
Everton: 1 Danielle Hill, 2 Becky Easton (14 Michelle Hinnigan 88), 3 Rachel Unitt, 4 Fara Williams, 5 Emily Westwood, 6 Lindsay Johnson, 7 Jody Handley (c), 8 Jill Scott, 9 Natasha Dowie (15 Toni Duggan 77), 10 Amy Kane, 11 Michelle Evans
Subs Not Used: 12 Leanne Duffy, 16 Kelly McDougall, 17 Karen Boyle
Arsenal: 1 Emma Byrne, 2 Alex Scott, 4 Jayne Ludlow, 6 Faye White (c) (12 Gemma Davison 86), 8 Kelly Smith, 9 Lianne Sanderson (7 Ciara Grant 64), 10 Julie Fleeting, 11 Rachel Yankey, 14 Karen Carney, 18 Anita Asante, 23 Mary Phillip
Subs Not Used: 2 Yvonne Tracy, 13 Rebecca Spencer, 15 Gilly Flaherty
Referee: Matt McLaughlin