Women's FA Cup final report: Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1

Chelsea Ladies relinquished their hold on the Women's FA Cup as Danielle Carter's spectacular strike was enough to win Arsenal the trophy.

The Blues had plenty of chances in front of a record 32,912 supporters at Wembley Stadium, but Carter's moment of brilliance after 18 minutes settled the final in the Gunners' favour.

After beating Liverpool 6-3 in their last outing, Emma Hayes kept nine of the starting 11 in place. Hedvig Lindahl started in goal behind a back four of Hannah Blundell, Millie Bright, Gilly Flaherty and Ana Borges, who came into the side in place of Claire Rafferty. Captain and newly crowned Player of the Year Katie Chapman lined up in midfield alongside Drew Spence.

Gemma Davison, one of several former Arsenal players in the Chelsea squad, replaced Eniola Aluko on the right-wing, with Ji So-Yun, Karen Carney and Fran Kirby making up the rest of our attacking quartet.

Within 30 seconds the Gunners had attempted a shot on goal, which came as a result of the Blues carelessly losing possession. The ball fell kindly to Carter 30 yards from goal and with Lindahl off her line the England forward attempted an audacious lob which landed on the roof of the net.

With Chelsea struggling to get a foothold in the game, it was the defence who shone in the early exchanges played out with the sun beating down on the Wembley pitch. Flaherty made one outstanding headed clearance from a corner kick, while Bright put in a bone-crunching challenge on Kelly Smith.

Then, out of nothing, Arsenal took the lead with a spectacular goal from Carter. Finding herself one on one with Blundell, the Gunners No9 cut inside onto her right foot and curled an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

The shock of going behind seemed to spur Chelsea into action and our best spell of the half came in the next 10 minutes. Kirby had a wonderful chance to equalise when she was brilliantly slid in by Blundell, but our semi-final hero took too long to pick her spot and Sari Van Veenendaal saved well as Kirby attempted to stick the ball through her legs. The keeper was then fortunate not to give away a penalty kick as she clobbered Spence, who beat her to a cross but could only head over the bar.

At the other end, a reminder of Arsenal's threat came via a slick move which almost led to a clear goalscoring opportunity for Smith. However, Chapman executed a perfectly timed sliding tackle on her former team-mate to snuff out the danger.

Chances were continuing to come Chelsea's way, though, and twice we came close to grabbing an equaliser before the break. First, Gemma Davison's best run of the half resulted in a pull-back for Ji, who could only prod over the bar, and then a similar move saw Carney benefit from a Kirby nutmeg to tee up Spence. Unfortunately she couldn't find the top corner despite making a good connection.

The half-time break brought about a tactical reshuffle from Hayes. Spence made way for Niamh Fahey, who has been out with injury in recent weeks, which meant Bright moved up into midfield so the Irish centre-half could resume her partnership with Flaherty.

Just two minutes into the second half the Gunners almost extended their lead, as a cross from the right found an unmarked Smith, who would only head against the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Hayes wasted little time in introducing fresh legs, bringing Aluko on to add some pace to the attack. The England winger, of course, had a huge impact on last year's final, when she set up the winning goal and was named Player of the Match. The change almost paid off within five minutes of Aluko's introduction, with her pace causing all sorts of problems for the Arsenal rearguard. She tried her luck from similar territory to Carter with an hour on the clock, but unfortunately her shot flew just wide of the target.

Just as in the first half, Oshoala was causing Chelsea's defence problems on the counter-attack and one such attack almost put Arsenal two goals to the good. One pass was all it took to send the Nigerian through on goal, but Lindahl was quick off her line to save with her legs from both the initial effort and the rebound.

An even better chance was to follow at the opposite end, this time from a corner-kick. Borges' tantalising centre was flicked on to Ji, who was completely unmarked at the back post. The South Korean took a touch to bring the ball down and attempted a half-volley with the outside of her right boot, but her effort was off target.

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912

With just over 10 minutes to play, Hayes made her final substitution, and it was an attacking change – Beth England brought on in place of Bright. It almost paid immediate dividends, as Ji's shot from the edge of the box deflected into the sub's path, but a heroic last-ditch block prevented her from scoring within seconds of entering the field.

Even better chances were to come our way in the final minutes. A wonderful run by Davison was thwarted at the last by an Arsenal leg, but the ball fell kindly to Kirby, whose hooked volley narrowly missed the target. Then, in the closing moments of stoppage time, Fahey was found by Aluko unmarked at the far post, but she couldn't get enough on her finish and the chance was gone. 

With it, too, went our hold on the Women's FA Cup. It was a valiant effort from Hayes' side, who now turn their attention to the vital FA Women's Super League 1 game against Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park on Thursday.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Bright (England 78), Flaherty, Borges; Chapman (c), Spence (Fahey h/t); Davison, Ji, Carney (Aluko 55); Kirby
Unused subs: Spencer, Rafferty
Booked: England

Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Scott (c), Stoney, Henning, Mitchell; Nobbs, Williams (Janssen 74), Losada; Carter, Smith (Van De Donk 74), Oshoala (Williamson 88)
Unused subs: Byrne, Natalia
Goals: Carter 18
Booked: Oshoala

Crowd: 32,912