Arsenal Ladies win inaugural Continental Cup with win over Birmingham.
Birmingham City Ladies 1-4 Arsenal Ladies
The FA WSL Continental Cup
2.15pm, Sunday 25 September
Burton Albion FC
Live on ESPN
Visit the official FA WSL website here
Arsenal Ladies won the inaugural FA WSL Continental Cup thanks to some clinical finishing on Sunday afternoon as two first half goals in a minute, followed by two wonder strikes from Rachel Yankey sealed the win.
Birmingham had the better of the opening stages, the first decent chance coming from Jo Potter, as her 30-yard free kick fizzed inches over the bar.
It took Arsenal 25 minutes to get an effort on goal, with Yankey’s powerful drive stinging the hands of Birmingham 'keeper Marie Hourihan but the Gunners took control seconds later with two goals in quick succession.
First, Katie Chapman’s long-range effort was deflected onto the bar and Ellen White converted the follow up.
Then virtually from the restart, Danielle Carter’s cross from the right was converted by the head of captain Jayne Ludlow.
Birmingham upped the pressure after half time and Karen Carney almost pulled one back ten minutes into the second half with a shot that was tipped away by Emma Byrne.
Rachel Williams went close from the edge of the box before Jodie Taylor brought a save from Byrne from eight yards out.
Meanwhile, at the other end a fine save from Hourihan denied Carter after she struck a fierce 20-yard drive, before Arsenal’s third goal with 25 minutes to go, a fine 25-yard Yankey free-kick. The England winger’s curling effort took a deflection and bounced into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Birmingham pulled a goal back with 18 minutes to go thanks to substitute Isobel Christiansen. She’d only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when a Williams header looped towards goal, and Christiansen got the better of Byrne to bundle the ball in.
But Yankey sealed the win with the goal of the game with six minutes to go. From 20-yards out she swivelled and powered home a wonderful left foot volley which gave Hourihan no chance.
Birmingham’s misery was complete in stoppage time when Rachel Williams was sent off for two bookable offences.
Speaking about the victory, Arsenal manager Laura Harvey said she was pleased at the way her team responded after a poor start.
“I couldn’t believe we were two goals up because we had been so bad," Harvey said.
"Sometimes you can sit back when you score and rest on your laurels but to go on and score a second so quickly completely changed the momentum of the game.
"I thought we defended really well and when you stop that threat, sometimes they struggle to find other options."Arsenal Ladies:
Byrne, Houghton, Ludlow (c), Flaherty, Grant, E. White (Beattie, 87) Yankey, Carter ( Nobbs, 69) Little, Chapman, Fahey.Substitutes not used:
Spencer, Tracy, Ladd
Goals: E White 26, Ludlow 27, Yankey 65, 84Birmingham City:
Hourihan, Weston, Harrop, Bassett ©, Susi ( Christiansen, 71) Williams, Carney, Potter, Moore, Taylor, WestwoodSubstitutes not used
: Hall, Stanton, Pond, Ballard
Goals: Christiansen 72Referee:
Sash IhringovaReferee’s Assistants:
Nigel D’Arcy, Michael EvansFourth Official: