The FA Women's Cup Sponsored by E.ON
Smith 53, 83, Ludlow 59, Sanderson 60
The Final 2008
1pm, Monday 5 May 2008
The City Ground, Nottingham Forest FC
Live on BBC One
By Stuart Mawhinney at the City Ground. Monday, 05 May 2008.Arsenal clinched a domestic double, and their third successive FA Women's Cup, with victory over a determined Leeds United who fought the Gunners all the way.
Two goals from Kelly Smith, and further goals from Jayne Ludlow and Lianne Sanderson put the seal on an emphatic scoreline with Jess Clarke grabbing a consolation for Rick Passmoor's team.
Arsenal dominated the game from start to finish, but Leeds somehow emerged from the first period with their goal intact thanks to a combination of poor finishing and a string of incredible saves from Carly Telford.
Alex Scott saw an effort cleared off the line as early as the second minute of the game as Vic Akers' side showed their intent from the outset. Three minutes later Telford made a point blank save from Kelly Smith as the Arsenal forward slalomed into the box before letting fly from eight yards out.
Scott was then put through by Smith only to see her ferocious shot cannon back off the underside of the bar and Jess Wright gratefully cleared her lines. The action was all at one end of the pitch and Lianne Sanderson brought the best out of Telford after just nine minutes, before producing a spectacular save to deny Jayne Ludlow.
Arsenal's matchwinner last season with two goals, Ludlow had spotted Telford off her line and hit a dipping shot from 25 yards out only for Telford to leap backwards and tip the shot over the bar. The first period turned into the Telford show as the Leeds 'keeper was increasingly the difference between the teams, and she continued her defiant display with a double save at the feet of Alex Scott.
Scott went through, played in by Lianne Sanderson after fine forward play, but after Telford parried her initial shot Scott struck a second effort into the hands of the Leeds stopper. Telford was called into action with ten minutes left of the first period as Karen Carney strode through on goal, but this time the young 'keeper got her foot to the strike.
As the second half began it was Leeds, without an attempt of note in the whole first half, who had the first chance through their captain Jess Wright. From a Steph Houghton corner the ball broke to Wright, but her volley was blocked by Ludlow and from the resulting scramble Arsenal were able to clear.
The Gunners took a deserved lead after some severe pressure through none other than Kelly Smith. The Arsenal and England forward latched onto a fine through pass to steerr the ball past Telford who could do nothing this time.
Six minutes later and Arsenal were two goals up as Jayne Ludlow got on the end of a Rachel Yankey free-kick, and it took less than 60 seconds for Arsenal to make it three. Lianne Sanderson met an Alex Scott cross and her shot deflected up and over Carly Telford, an unfortunate moment for a 'keeper who performed so well to deny the Gunners for so long.
The game seemed to be up for Leeds, but credit to the Yorskhire outfit they did not give in and got their reward with 21 minutes remaining. Sue Smith showed tremendous tenacity to hold up the ball before creating space for an audacious lob over Emma Byrne. The effort crashed back of the upright and Jess Clarke reacted quickest to head home the rebound.
Arsenal didn't allow Leeds to have the final say however as substitute Julie Fleeting powered through before her shot came back off the post for a simple tap-in for Kelly Smith.Arsenal:
1 Emma Byrne, 2 Alex Scott, 4 Jayne Ludlow, 6 Faye White (c), 7 Ciara Grant (3 Yvonne Tracy 74
), 8 Kelly Smith, 9 Lianne Sanderson (10 Julie Fleeting 74
), 11 Rachel Yankey (12 Gemma Davison 74
), 14 Karen Carney, 18 Anita Asante, 23 Mary PhillipSubstitutes Not Used:
13 Rebecca Spencer, 15 Gilly FlahertyLeeds United:
1 Carly Telford, 2 Sophie Bradley, 5 Jess Wright (c) (23 Gemma Bonner 86
), 6 Katie Holtham, 8 Sue Smith, 9 Steph Houghton, 12 Jess Clarke, 14 Jade Moore (19 Mel Sutcliffe 60
), 16 Amanda Barr, 17 Alex Culvin (20 Olivia Thackray 86
), 18 Sophie WaltonSubstitutes Not Used:
13 Emma Higgins, 21 Ashley HuttonReferee: