Chelsea celebrate third consecutive Women’s FA Cup triumph

Sam Kerr gave Chelsea a third successive Vitality Women’s FA Cup title with a 1-0 win over Manchester United in front of a world record crowd at Wembley.

The final debutants came closest to opening the scoring in the first half as United benefitted from numerous Chelsea errors but could not find a way past Ann-Katrin Berger.

Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 68th minute through Kerr as she scored for a third successive final to secure another title for the collection.

Manchester United had the ball in the back of the net within the first minute as Leah Galton stabbed home only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

Neither side were able to settle into the game, although Manchester United looked most comfortable as they capitalised on Chelsea errors, with Nikita Parris forcing Berger into a save after good link-up play with Ella Toone.

Berger was again called into action in the 31st minute as she expertly pawed a Millie Turner header away after a Katie Zelem free kick found its way to the defender.

Galton had another fine chance minutes later as Alessia Russo swung the ball in from the wing, but a deflection from Magda Eriksson meant Galton could only direct behind.

Chelsea responded almost immediately as Mary Earps pulled off a huge save to tip Lauren James’ header onto the post before a free-kick allowed United to gather themselves.

There was time for one more Manchester United chance as Parris won a free-kick on the edge of the box, with Turner heading over the resulting set-piece to give Emma Hayes plenty to talk about at the half-time break.

The defending champions started the second half livelier as Earps had to scoop up Kerr’s header before launching United on a counter-attack that saw Alessia Russo’s shot comfortably saved by Berger.

The Chelsea shot-stopper was then in regular action as United routinely broke through Chelsea’s defence, Galton forcing another save from Berger who angrily told her backline to wake up.

Eve Perisset sent a rushed header behind to deny Russo a near-certain goal with the following corner once again finding the head of Turner before bouncing wide.

Pernille Harder entered the fray in the 57th minute as Jessie Fleming made way, with the Danish forward proving to be the difference.

Harder found herself in acres of space and with only two United defenders around her as Sam Kerr looked to square a cross, sending it behind Harder meaning she could only make a tame shot at Earps.

The Blues kept searching for the opener with Kerr and Harder combining again to no avail before in the 68th minute, their potent partnership came off.

Guro Reiten started the move as she unleashed Harder down the right wing, her perfectly-timed cross left Kerr just a tap-in before she wheeled away to perform her famous backflip celebration.

The action continued to go end-to-end as United searched for a way back into the game, before Sophie Ingle blazed over to deny Chelsea a comfortable final 10 minutes.

United almost forced an injury-time equaliser as Berger flailed at a cross before Buchanan cleared to end United’s hopes of a first major trophy, while Chelsea celebrated in front of 77,390 fans, a world record crowd for a domestic women’s cup match.

Kerr said: “I think it’s the sign of a great team, we didn’t have our best game but we pushed through. Everyone stuck at it and we got the win.

“P [Pernille Harder] did amazing, the team did amazing. I’d be wrong to say it was all me. I’m just lucky to be the number nine in this great team.”

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