UEFA Women's Cup holders Arsenal LFC completed a clean sweep of trophies as they fought back to defeat Charlton Athletic WFC 4-1 in the FA Women's Cup final.
UEFA Women's Cup holders Arsenal LFC completed an unprecidented clean sweep of trophies as they came from behind to defeat Charlton Athletic WFC 4-1 to win the FA Women's Cup final in front of a competition record 24,529 crowd at Nottingham's City Ground.
Arsenal, who beat Umeå IK to become European champions eight days ago, fought back from conceding in the opening two minutes to defend the trophy they won against Leeds United LFC last year thanks to two goals apiece from Kelly Smith and Jayne Ludlow. The triumph continued Arsenal's unbeaten run in all competitions this season and added to their success in the league, FA Women's Premier League Cup and UEFA Women's Cup for an impressive quadruple of major titles.
The Gunners were stunned to find themselves behind with just two minutes played after Charlton's sprightly England forward Eniola Aluko burst into the penalty area from the right and supplied a teasing low cross which Katie Holtham bundled in from close range. The lead only lasted five minutes, though, as Smith, who had missed Arsenal's European triumph through suspension, flighted a superb free-kick into the top corner of the net.
Arsenal struck again on 15 minutes as captain Ludlow turned the ball in at the near-post from Lianne Sanderson's low free-kick, and they moved 3-1 ahead a minute before the break as Welsh international Ludlow pinged a long-range drive into the top corner. Arsenal continued their dominance in the second half and after Rachel Yankey had struck the post they rounded off victory nine minutes from time as Smith scored her 26th goal of the season from Katie Chapman's fine through-ball. "I’m proud of the team," said victorious manager Vic Akers. "The Umeå games took a lot out of the girls and you could see that in our play, but we've come through. It's a marvellous achievement."