- SSE Women's FA Cup Final
- Saturday 4 May 2019
- Wembley Stadium
Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp scored as Manchester City downed a valiant West Ham United to secure a second SSE Women's FA Cup in three seasons.
In front of 43,264 fans at Wembley Stadium, Nick Cushing's 2017 champions pitted their wits against Matt Beard's flourishing Hammers, Finalists in their inaugural campaign as a professional club.
And City were forced to dig deep to find a way past their spirited opponents, with second-half goals from Walsh and Stanway arriving before Hemp put the cherry on the cake late on.
West Ham started brightly but before long, skipper Gilly Flaherty was forced into a lunging last-ditch tackle to deny Nikita Parris after she'd been sent clear by England colleague Stanway.
As the final settled down, City were slick in their build-up play, although they struggled to create any significant openings, while at the other end, the Hammers, who progressively grew in confidence, created the best chance of the game so far just before the half-hour mark.
Former City striker Jane Ross met a sublimely-weighted cross from right-back Ria Percival and headed towards goal but the West Ham striker saw her attempt spectacularly clawed away by Karen Bardsley, the England goalkeeper producing a save right from the top drawer.
The Hammers had their tails up and referee Abigail Byrne soon waved away their shouts for a spot-kick when Alisha Lehmann went down under the challenge of Jill Scott while at the other end, Claire Rafferty got in the way of a Scott strike and Parris fired a pot-shot wide.
In the second half, with the game still goalless, Walsh skewed an effort wide of the mark after being teed up on the edge of the box by the industrious Stanway but moments later, the midfielder tried her luck again – this time, with a different result.
Again finding space to take aim from outside the area, the 22-year-old let fly with an arcing right-footed hit, which bent past a despairing Anna Moorhouse to put City in front.
As the Hammers looked to steady themselves, Cushing's side were on the hunt to double down on their advantage, Moorhouse forced to punch away a devilish whipped cross from Tessa Wullaert while the West Ham keeper also had her palms stung by Parris.
With 20 minutes to go, Beard's side caught City on the counter-attack but Lehmann could only shoot straight at Bardsley after she picked out a rampaging Leanne Kiernan.
City remained dangerous, though, Moorhouse having to stay alert to deal with a deflected Caroline Weir effort, and the coup de grace arrived nine minutes from time when Stanway jinked into space in the box and he shot crept into the bottom corner, deflecting off the outstretched leg of defender Brooke Hendrix.
And teenager Hemp rounded things off at the death as she beat Moorhouse to the ball outside the area and superbly dinked the ball home into an unguarded net.
The 18-year-old could have stolen the spotlight with a second shortly afterwards but this time her angled strike smacked against the upright.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Karen Bardsley, Abbie McManus, Steph Houghton (capt), Jen Beattie, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh, Tessa Wullaert, Caroline Weir, Nikita Parris, Georgia Stanway.
Substitutes: Lauren Hemp for Parris 82, Claire Emslie for Weir 85.
Substitutes not used: Ellie Roebuck, Gemma Bonner, Pauline Bremer, Janine Beckie, Megan Campbell.
Goals: Walsh 52, Stanway 81, Hemp 88
Bookings: Scott 59
West Ham United (4-3-3): Anna Moorhouse, Erin Simon, Gilly Flaherty (capt), Brooke Hendrix, Claire Rafferty, Ria Percival, Kate Longhurst, Cho So-Hyun, Adriana Leon, Jane Ross.
Substitutes: Brianna Visalli for Rafferty 62, Leanne Kiernan for Ross 65, Rosie Kmita for Simon 89.
Substitutes not used: Becky Spencer, Vyan Simpson, Brianna Visalli, Rosie Kmita, Lucienne Reichardt
Referee: Abigail Byrne
Fifa World Cup