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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Kerr does it again as she scores the goal that downs Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley to win FA Cup

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

FA Cup Final


Chelsea 1 v Manchester United 0

She’s only gone and scored the winner again that sees Chelsea retain the FA Cup after - to be fair an ordinary encounter against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium this afternoon.

A whole new lexicon will have to be created to describe the power, strength, extraordinary mindset of Sam Kerr, not forgetting her ability to score all sorts of goals. She slotted home the only goal of the game on 68 minutes.

“Chelsea are champions for a reason,” shouted midfielder Erin Cuthbert after the match.

And the stuff of champions is to recognise how you think the game will pan out, plan accordingly and have trust in your players to carry out those plans.

Head coach Emma Hayes has a wealth of experience, winning FA Cups before United were even in existence.

They will have to wait a little longer to taste that winning feeling.

Chelsea were an tired group, Hayes opted for a physically strong, experienced starting 11. Lauren James the exception, who Hayes hoped would produce a piece of magic.

It didn’t happen on this occasion. Instead Kerr stepped up to the plate and did it in style.

When she scored, she did her acrobatic back flip.

But it was almost the worst possible start for Chelsea who thought they went behind after 20 seconds, when Leah Galton though she had scored.

But the lineswoman had another idea and judged her to be offside.

Chelsea who has started badly in recent league matches, struggled again to contain the high pressure sustained by United and saturated the Chelsea rearguard when attacking.

Nikita Parris shot on 15 minutes a typical case in point.

MillIe Turner should have scored on 33 minutes when a simple dink of a free kick into the Chelsea area was completely messed up by the defence and Turner spun and shot towards goal.

But the effort was weak and Ann-Katrin Berger had the chance parry the ball away from goal.

Galton was next up to see her effort inch over the Chelsea crossbar, on 37 minutes, as the west Londoners struggled to retain possession, losing just about every second ball and not passing particularly well among team-mates either.

Chelsea’s best attack came from a counter and a powerful long-range header by James, saw Mary Earps backtrack to her goal line and fingertip the ball onto her right post and to safety.

Parris had a good shout for a foul turning into a penalty but referee Emily Heaslip reckoned the infringement was just outside the area.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

Maren Mjelde misjudged the movement of the ball, Al lowing Alessia Russo to get a shot away. Thankfully for the Norway defender the shot failed to trouble Berger.

Guro Reiten was given a yellow card on 51 minutes for a foul.

Head coach Emma Hayes had seen no improvement from her side and opted to make changes - on came Sophie Ingle and Pernille Harder, off went Fleming and Leupolz.

The idea was to increase the attacking options and thus force United into a more defensive mode.

Harder's first touch from a counter-attack was rubbish and, while goal-bound, Earps had an embarrassingly easy task of picking up it.

On 66 minutes, Harder broke free on the right. She was desperate for closer support, but when that wasn’t forthcoming perhaps should have taken the chance of a shot. Instead she cut the ball back but it was a United player who latched onto it and cleared it away.

While she might be having a quiet game, Sam Kerr cannot be ignored and two minutes later, Harder broke free on the right again. This time she saw Kerr at the far end of the six-yard box. The ball was perfect and the Australian had the simplest of chance to slot home, which she did.

She celebrated with her amazing flip, which she keeps for special occasions.

Hayes then decided to almost shut up shop - on came England defender Jess Carter for Niamh Charles on 73 minutes.

Ingle flashed the ball high over the crossbar with nine minutes left on the clock - giving United the belief that they could level - had Ingle scored the game would have been effectively over.

To compound the belief of killing the game off winger James was replaced by Canada centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan on 88 minutes.

The announcement of an additional six minutes was greeted by cheers by the red end of Wembley Stadium and jeers by the blue end.

A last-gasp flap by Berger along with a last-ditch clearance from Buchanan was the last action and jubilation at the blue end greeted the final whistle.

Teams: Chelsea, Berger, Leupolz, James, Reiten, Perisset, Eriksson, Fleming, Mjelde, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert

Subs, Musovic, Ingle, Carter, Svitkova, Rytting Kaneryd, Harder, Buchanan, Abdullina, Cankovic

Manchester United, Earps, Batile, B.I cell, Toone, Zelem, Galton, Ladd, Le Tissier, Turner, Parris, Russo

Subs, Baggaley, Mannion, Rosa, Thomas, Rivière, Naalsund, Garcia, Williams, Cascarino

Referee: Emily Heaslip


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