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Mead’s the star as Gooners cruise into FA Cup Final after beating Seagulls 3-0 in semi-final


By Football Reporter


Beth Mead scored one and made the other two as Arsenal cruised into the Vitality FA Women’s Cup final with a 3-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Despite resting the likes of Vivianne Miedema, Tobin Heath and Lotte Wubben-Moy, the dominant Gunners were too strong for the Seagulls.

Captain Kim Little and Leah Williamson also got on the scoresheet for the semi-final in front of 1,328 at Meadow Park.

It set up a tantalising cup final for Jonas Eidevall’s BFA WSL table-topping side, who will face second-placed Chelsea in the Wembley showpiece on December 5.

Arsenal’s first big chance came after 21 minutes when Caitlin Foord robbed Victoria Williams of the ball just outside the area, only to be denied by an excellent save by Megan Walsh.

The Gunners started to hit their stride and came close again when Foord headed a fizzing cross by Noelle Maritz just wide.

Brighton’s defending became increasingly last-ditch, and they needed Williams to superbly clear Nikita Parris’ header from Katie McCabe’s cross off the line.

But the breakthrough finally arrived five minutes into the second half when Mead weaved her way through down the left before her cross was stabbed in at the near post by Little.

The lead was doubled four minutes later when Jordan Nobbs found Mead in space down the left again and she cut inside before calmly shooting into the bottom corner.

The rampant Mead then almost fashioned a third for Arsenal, as her cut-back found Nobbs, but her effort from around the penalty spot was brilliantly kept out by Walsh.

But the Gunners weren’t to be denied and Leah Williamson capped things off with 14 minutes to go by turning in Mead’s corner at the far post.

To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall said: "She [Beth Mead] is a player who, when she has self-confidence and when she uses her shot and her ability to take players on one v one, when she uses the intensity in the way she can press, basically harass, her opponents, I think she is a world-class forward. "I was really delighted about her performance. "I’m a little disappointed because I’d rather people being afraid of playing us than looking forward to it, but of course I understand what she [Emma Hayes] means. "It’s going to be a great occasion – I think this is the reason why we are all involved in football in the first place. "We want to compete for trophies, we want to play against the best teams. "Chelsea have played in a Champions League final, they have achieved things that we are wanting to do ourselves, so we are really looking forward to that challenge."

Arsenal (4-3-3): Manuela Zinsberger, Noelle Maritz, Leah Williamson, Jen Beattie, Katie McCabe, Lia Walti, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Nikita Parris, Caitlin Foord, Beth Mead

Substitutes: Frida Maanum for Walti 65, Mana Iwabuchi for Foord 65, Anna Patten for Maritz 83, Simone Boye for Beattie 83, Teyah Goldie for Williamson 90+2’

Substitutes not used: Lydia Williams, Hermione Cull, Halle Houssein, Alex Hennessy

Goals: Little 50, Mead 54, Williamson 76

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-1-1): Megan Walsh, Maya Le Tissier, Danique Kerkdijk, Victoria Williams, Fliss Gibbons, Kayleigh Green, Aileen Whelan, Megan Connolly, Inessa Kaagman, Emily Simpkins, Danielle Carter

Substitutes: Lee Geum-min for Simpkins 51, Emma Koivisto for Green 51, Ellie Brazil for Williams 63, Maisie Symonds for Kaagman 79

Substitutes not used: Rinsola Babajide, Libby Bance, Katie Robinson, Frankie Angel

Bookings: Connolly 74, Gibbons 80

Referee: Abigail Byrne

Attendance: 1,328

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