Manchester City Women complete double with FA Cup success over West Ham
LONDON, England -- Manchester City won the Women's FA Cup on Saturday after defeating West Ham United 3-0 at Wembley to complete a domestic double.
Second-half goals from Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Kemp ensured the win as Nick Cushing's side lifted their second trophy of the season following their Continental Cup success in February.
After an even first half, Walsh 52nd minute strike from outside of the box opened the scoring following a howler from West Ham goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who could only parry the midfielder's shot into her own net.
Stanway, who was named player of the match thanks to an excellent display, put City in a comfortable position with 10 minutes left after she cut in from the left wing before placing an accurate shot into the far corner. Substitute Kemp then wrapped up the win when she lifted the ball over the onrushing Moorhouse from outside of the box.
Despite missing out the Women's Super League title, City are also now only one game away from completing an unbeaten domestic season -- which they will achieve if they get a result against league champions Arsenal next weekend.
"It's a huge achievement for the football club, for the players and the staff," Cushing said afterwards. "Last year we didn't win anything and there were reasons for that. We looked at why we physically weren't great at the end of the season, why we thought the mindset of the group wasn't good enough, why we didn't absorb pressure enough, so we changed a few things and we went undefeated.
"The flipside of that is we should've won the league. We feel Arsenal deserve the league but we didn't feel they were better than us. We haven't lost a game and there were draws we should have won. So we have things to work on next season."
West Ham striker Jane Ross had her side's best opportunity during the game, but her downward header from six yards out was spectacularly saved by City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley midway through the first half.
The Hammers were then unfortunate to fall behind to a goalkeeping error, but manager Matt Beard remained upbeat following the club's first season in the English top flight. Beard was only announced as West Ham's boss shortly before the start of the season, and the manager had just six weeks to build the side ahead of the campaign.
"The first goal changes the game," Beard reflected. "Anna has been fantastic this year, but we've got to take the chances when we have them because you don't get a lot of them against City.
"If you look at what we've created in just a short space of time, as a team and as a club, I'm so proud of them. It speaks volumes for what we're trying to do."
City's three goalscorers were all Academy graduates, underlining the team's strategy of developing young British talent. 20-year-old Stanway was also named PFA Young Player of the Year last week, and her goal, performance and player of the match award puts the midfielder in good shape to be named in England manager Phil Neville's World Cup squad when it is announced this week.
"It's been a week I won't forget," Stanway said. "It's amazing, it kind of came as a shock [to receive the player of the match award]. I was happy to score but to lift the trophy was the most important thing today."
The attendance of 43,264 fell just short of the 45,423 set at last year's final between Chelsea and Arsenal, which broke the English record for a women's club match.