Manchester City won the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup for a third time after a penalty shootout that saw Janine Beckie score the decisive spot-kick, reports TheFA.com.
Misses from Arsenal’s Leah Williamson and Danielle van de Donk, as City goalie Karen Bardsley came up trumps from 12 yards, helped seal the victory after a tense 0-0 across 120 minutes.
The first half was one of few chances, with both sides looking nervous but it the holders who appeared to settle the quicker in the opening stages.
It was only half-chances that either could rely on, with the Gunners’ Beth Mead heading wide at one end, City relying on shots from range at the other.
The biggest chance came right at the end of the half when Steph Houghton’s header from a corner was saved and defensive partner Gemma Bonner couldn’t divert the ball in from close range.
Nick Cushing’s side, though, took the initiative in the second half but couldn’t find the net despite several good chances.
Nikita Parris went closest when she flicked Caroline Weir’s free-kick onto the bar before Weir herself was denied by an excellent save by Sari van Veenendaal in the last 10 minutes.
Vivianne Miedema, who was only fit enough to start from the bench, volleyed wide in stoppage time while Beckie went even closer, smashing the crossbar with the final effort of normal time.
Cushing’s side continued to have the better of the game as Arsenal tired and Parris had a big chance to break the deadlock when she burst past Lucy Quinn but van Veenendaal denied her.
As the game progressed to penalties, it was Bardsley who was the hero, saving two penalties and allowing Beckie to step up and score the winner.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Sari van Veenendaal, Janni Arnth, Leah Williamson, Louise Quinn, Katrine Veje, Dominique Bloodworth, Kim Little, Lisa Evans, Danielle van de Donk, Katie McCabe; Beth Mead
Substitutes: Vivianne Miedema for Arnth 69, Amelia Hazard for Veje 71
Substitutes not used: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Ava Kuyken, Ana Albuquerque
Bookings: Bloodworth 58
Manchester City (4-4-2): Karen Bardsley, Gemma Bonner, Steph Houghton, Jen Beattie, Demi Stokes; Tessa Wullaert, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh, Caroline Weir, Georgia Stanway, Nikita Parris
Substitutes: Janine Beckie for Wullaert 65, Lauren Hemp for Parris 105, Claire Emslie for Weir 119
Substitutes not used: Ellie Roebuck, Pauline Bremer, Megan Campbell, Abbie McManus
Bookings: Stanway 40, Parris 82
Referee: Lucy Oliver