Arsenal Ladies lift FA Cup

Andover Advertiser: Kelly Smith, far left, scored Arsenal's first goal Kelly Smith, far left, scored Arsenal's first goal

Arsenal Ladies gave coach Shelley Kerr a triumphant send-off by beating Everton 2-0 in the Women's FA Cup final at stadium:mk.

Kelly Smith's free-kick put Arsenal in front in the first half and the experienced England star set up Japan international Yukari Kinga for the second shortly after the hour mark.

It was a second successive FA Cup title for Arsenal and Kerr, who also guided the club to Continental Cup success last season but recently decided to resign after a poor start to the Women's Super League season.

Everton had an early sight of goal when Nikita Parris fired over, but the lone striker was to become an isolated figure as Arsenal quickly took charge.

Everton goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis had to be sharply off her line to prevent Danielle Carter reaching Smith's through-ball - and Brown-Finnis was then relieved to see Rachel Yankey's 20-yard drive crash back off a post after Smith teed up her fellow international veteran.

The opener came when Carter was brought down on the edge of the D by full-back Alex Greenwood and Smith curled home an excellent free-kick, though Brown-Finnis' positioning behind her wall was suspect.

Brooke Chaplen and Millie Turner headed over from Everton corners but Carter almost doubled the Gunners' lead when she tackled Greenwood, brilliantly nutmegged her as she got to her feet and ran from halfway before hitting a post from 18 yards out.

The first half ended with Brown-Finnis saving on the line at full stretch after Carter bundled the ball goalwards, though the winger clearly handled the ball in the process.

Smith became the third Arsenal player to hit the frame of the goal early in the second half, with Brown-Finnis beaten again.

Parris' shot was blocked at the other end before Arsenal scored their second. Smith cut into the box from the right and was blatantly blocked off by Gabrielle George, but referee Martin Atkinson played the advantage and she teed up Kinga to sweep home from 15 yards.

Kinga's compatriot Shinobu Ohno was denied by Brown-Finnis before Everton's Parris headed just wide.

Carter failed to control a dangerous Smith cross, and also saw a header flash wide, while substitute Leah Williamson shot wide from distance.

Emma Mitchell hit the crossbar in stoppage time and though Arsenal could not find further goals to reflect their dominance, it was a comfortable win and a fitting end to Kerr's 16-month reign.

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