The England star provided a game-changing moment off the bench to bring the Blues back from the brink in their SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-final match against Manchester City last weekend.
Cup holders Chelsea faced their toughest test of the competition so far, as high-flying City arrived at Wheatsheaf Park determined to reach the Wembley showcase for the first time in the club’s history.
But thanks to Kirby’s extra-time strike, it was Chelsea who went through to The Final, setting up a mouth-watering tie all-London tie against rivals Arsena under the Arch on Saturday 14 May.
In front of a raucous crowd, the match came to life mid-way through the second half when City’s Jane Ross tapped home from close range.
That was the spark Chelsea needed and manager Emma Hayes brought on Kirby, a change that instantly made the difference as her darting runs caused panic in the City defence.
Despite both sides going close in extra time, the match seemed destined for penalties – until Kirby popped up with a dramatic late winner after going past two City defenders and smashing the ball past Karen Bardsley.
Kirby, who was ineligible to play for Chelsea in last year’s Final, is now delighted to have helped the side reach Wembley for the second year running and is hopeful they can retain the famous trophy.
“It’s great to win the award, it was an amazing end to the match,” said Kirby.
“City are obviously a top side so to beat them and reach the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley is really special and I’m sure we are good enough to lift the trophy again.”
The award is a brand new initiative for The SSE Women’s FA Cup, rewarding exceptional performances in each round of the competition and recognising the talent in the women’s game.
This year’s Final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 14 May and thanks to The FA’s partnership with SSE, all children will be able to attend for free. Adult tickets are priced £15 and group bookings and charter standard discounts are also available.
Tickets for The Final are on sale now via TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 0844 826 2010.
Source / photo – www.thefa.com