Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Everton win in FA Women's Cup Final Blockbuster

Dowie opens the scoring in a five-goal thriller at The City Ground

Mo Marley heralded a new era after watching Natasha Dowie strike an extra-time winner to secure Everton the 2010 FA Women’s Cup.

Dowie and a Faye White own goal had twice given the Toffees the lead in an enthralling cup final.

Kim Little’s penalty and Julie Fleeting scored the equalisers for the Gunners, but it was Dowie who had the last laugh in what could be a shift in power for English women’s football.

“It’s always been coming, we’ve said all along we’re good enough,” said Everton manager Marley.

“We’re used to being the under dogs, but today showed we’re capable and hopefully we’ll do it on a regular basis.

“We had to defend well as they’re the best team in the league. There were brave tackles – bodies and limbs were thrown on the line today.

“We need to prove we can do this on a regular basis, but days like today will benefit the players and they’ll hopefully get used to winning under pressure.”

Everton took the lead just after a quarter of an hour when Dowie pounced at the second attempt after Fara Williams saw her 20-yard effort saved by Emma Byrne.

Arsenal almost replied instantly when Julie Fleeting headed wide at the far post following decent wing work by Gemma Davison.

Everton should have doubled their advantage on the half-hour when Jody Handley delivered an excellent ball into Williams, but the England international flashed a header wide from six yards.

The equaliser came two minutes before the break when Rachel Unitt upended Davison following a surging run into the area, Little converting from the spot.

As the half-time whistle approached, there was still time for Everton to retake the lead.

In the second minute of injury time, Toni Duggan whipped a menacing ball in from the right and Faye White inadvertently headed into her own net while under pressure from Jill Scott.

Arsenal levelled deservedly on 54 minutes when the tricky Rachel Yankey found Fleeting unmarked on the penalty spot, and Scotland’s skipper swivelled and looped her effort over a despairing dive from Rachel Brown.

Everton were on the back foot for much of the second period, but almost went ahead with fifteen minutes remaining when Dowie cut in from the right and saw her fierce drive deflected wide by team-mate Michelle Hinnigan.

Arsenal almost grabbed the winner with a minute remaining when Yankey pick-pocketed Becky Easton on halfway to set up a two against one situation, but Little dallied, enabling Everton to recover.

Five minutes into extra time, Handley flicked it on to Dowie, but the goal-scorer failed to make decent contact with the ball in a glorious opportunity inside the six-yard box.

Two unlikely sources almost secured the cup for Arsenal, Easton blocking Gilly Flaherty before her centre-back partner White struck wide with five minutes remaining.

With a minute left, substitute Brooke Chaplen threaded Dowie through and with Byrne rushing out, Dowie chipped it over her into the back of the net for her 28th and most important goal of the season.

For Arsenal boss Laura Harvey, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

“We created a lot of chances in the second half, but we just couldn’t get the clinical finish,” she said.

“We started slowly, and we’ve learned that we can’t afford to have a sloppy first 45 minutes at this level.

“We have to pick ourselves up now as we must win the league after today’s defeat.”

Arsenal LFC 2
Little (pen) 43, Fleeting 54

Everton LFC 3
Dowie 16, 119, White og 45+2

Referee: Ms Una Hong 7/10

Attendance: 17,505

Match rating 5/5

Star player: Natasha Dowie

Arsenal: (4-3-3): Byrne 6, Fahey 6, Flaherty 6, White 6, Yorston 6, Little 7, Grant 6, Beattie 6, Davison 8, Yankey 7, Fleeting 7 (Carter 70 6).

Subs not used: Spencer, Tracy, Lander, Bruton.

Everton: (4-3-3): Brown 7, Easton 7, Westwood 7, Johnson 7, Unitt 6 (Whelan 63 7), Scott 8, Williams 8, Hinnigan 6 (Chaplen 77 7), Handley 7, Duggan 7 (Evans 111 6), Dowie 9.

Subs not used: Hobbs, Culvin.