Chelsea Women’s injury-time hero, Bethany England, has said the ‘important’ triumph over Arsenal in the Continental League Cup final displays the strength and resilience that the Blues squad have this season.
Emma Hayes’ Chelsea made history on Saturday night when we defeated London rivals Arsenal 2-1 to clinch the Continental League Cup for the first time ever. The unforgettable occasion – hosted at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground – was witnessed by a crowd of 6,743 supporters, a new record for the league cup final.
England netted the opener with only nine minutes on the clock with a poacher’s finish for her 20th goal of the campaign. However, the Blues were hit with a sucker-punch on the 85th minute when Arsenal’s centre-back Leah Williamson equalised. But just as the final was heading for extra-time, our No.9 poked home in added time to secure our first trophy of the 2019/20 season in the most dramatic fashion.
‘Of course it’s an unbelievable feeling to score, especially in a final and winning trophies,’ England said joyfully after the match.
‘To help the team bring the trophy home and to finally get a winner’s medal is an amazing feeling for me and I’m just really proud of the team and how we managed to battle it out.
‘I think it shows how strong we are as a group of players, the resilience we’ve got and the trust and belief we’ve got in each other. Obviously them scoring late on in the game, they had the momentum and we had to find a way.’
England admitted that Chelsea were not the best team on the night and praised team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger for maintaining our lead for the majority of the clash by producing an outstanding performance in between the sticks and making many crucial saves.
‘It was a tough game and Arsenal played really well. They were the better team, so I can appreciate that they’ll be gutted with that. But we ground out the result, we got the win and that’s the most important thing.
‘She’s [Berger] been unbelievable this season and she made some unbelievable stops. I think she really badly hurt her wrist at one point. Without her, it could have been a different game. I’m just chuffed,’ she continued.
For some of the Blues, the Continental Cup is the first piece of domestic silverware that they have ever got their hands on. We came painfully close to reaching finals last season but missed out at the last hurdle. England reveals that past experiences have given the team the motivation to push on and leave no stone unturned this time around.
‘There is quite a few it was the first, even for myself, if we don’t include the Spring Series. It’s important. You play, you put so much work and effort into this, and you want some reward. Fingers cross we can keep it up and win the Treble.
‘Last season we were a nearly team and we came away with nothing. It hit the girls hard and we knew that was never going to be an option this season – we were coming to win. It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but we still found the result and that’s the most important thing. I’m just so happy right now.
Read Emma Hayes view on the cup win
Due to the international break, Chelsea are not in domestic action until Sunday 15 March when we travel to Merseyside to take on Everton for a place in the semi-final of the Women’s FA Cup.
England joined up with her Lionesses team-mates yesterday – which includes Millie Bright and Carly Telford – as they head to America to compete in the annual SheBelieves Cup.
The competition consists of hosts and World Champions the USA, Spain and Japan. As current holders, the Lionesses will aim to be winners for a second successive season and England, who is set to play in her first tournament, hopes to convert her fine form to the international stage.
‘I’m excited to get there and for my first tournament with the national team. Hopefully we can go and win that trophy out there as well.
‘Any player will say they thrive best when they’re confident. I’m really enjoying my football at the minute, people can see I’m happy, and it’s producing performances for me and helping my team win. Hopefully I can take that to the national team.’
Our next home game in on Sunday 22 March when we host Everton in the Women’s Super League. Tickets cost £9 for adults and £1 for concessions.