November 2, 2020 9:31:40 am
Manchester City retained the Women’s FA Cup with a hard-fought 3-1 extra-time victory over Everton in the final at Wembley on Sunday, finally bringing the 2019-20 season to a close after the competition was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gareth Taylor’s side dominated possession from kickoff but were made to work hard for the win, with Everton striker Valerie Gauvin cancelling out Sam Mewis’s opener for City.
Substitute Georgia Stanway scored the decisive strike in the 21st minute of extra time, squeezing the ball through the legs of Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver who had done well to keep her side in contention after the match ended 1-1.
Janine Beckie scored with the last kick of the game to seal City’s third FA Cup triumph, their seventh major trophy since turning professional in 2014, though no fans were present to see it due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was an exciting game to play in. Everton put out an unbelievable performance and we matched it. We had an extra gear to go up to in the end. It was just about having enough to find it,” Stanway told the BBC.
“The boots were shaking a bit but we also knew we had it under control… It’s sad that my family aren’t here, but I hope to do a rerun of this in the years to come.”
City had early chances through Chloe Kelly, who played for Everton in the early rounds of the competition but moved to Manchester in the close season and was not cup-tied due to a change in the rules.
Everton were mostly able to soak up the pressure. However, the defensive discipline of Willie Kirk’s side was broken shortly before halftime when American World Cup winner Mewis headed in from a corner.
They could have made it 2-0 10 minutes after the break but Caroline Weir hit the post with a sliding shot and the follow-up effort by Kelly was brilliantly tipped over by MacIver.
That proved decisive as Everton went up the other end and forced a corner, from which French striker Gauvin scored with the back of her head having jumped at the near post. It was the 24-year-old’s sixth goal since her move from Montpellier in August.
Both sides had a flurry of chances near the end of the second half with Weir hitting the woodwork again for City with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
However, the match went to extra time where Stanway, who also scored in last year’s final, grabbed the initiative and then set up Beckie to seal the win.
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