#SSEWomensFACup final: More Post-Match Reaction from Walsh, Stanway, Hemp & Flaherty

Manchester City’s Georgia Stanway celebrates with the trophy after the 2019 SSE Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley. Photo: Kunjan Malde for The FA

Striker Jane Ross came close for FA Cup final newbies West Ham United against Manchester City at Wembley, but three second-half goals won it for the Citizens in front of more than 43,000 spectators. Former Blackburn Rovers youth players Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway got the scoring underway for Nick Cushing’s side before high-flying teenage substitute Lauren Hemp sealed a 3-0 win. Here’s what the goalscorers had to say about their contribution to City’s victory and what West Ham skipper Gilly Flaherty thought of her team and the match…

Keira Walsh on City’s success:
“At a club like Man City the aim is to always win trophies. The push for next year is to really challenge for the Champions League. We’re a bit disappointed that we got knocked out in the first round this year. I think the club ethos is just to keep winning trophies and hopefully we can do that next year.”

On playing for Manchester City:
“As a youngster I never thought that I would be playing for Man City Women and playing at Wembley in the FA Cup final and scoring. It’s a really special feeling and it’s nice to be part of a team that has fantastic players.”

Photo: Kunjan Malde for The FA

On whether the cup final performance can boost support during the World Cup:
“Yes, not just the way we play but all the teams in the league. Arsenal have been fantastic this season, they’ve been consistent and put in some great performances. Chelsea against Lyon, Chelsea played really well and people are starting to take women’s football in England a little bit more seriously. Hopefully that will carry on in the World Cup and we’ll get some fans out there and at home. To replicate the feeling that the men have in the summer would be pretty special.”

On whether the atmosphere makes her hope that England can play at Wembley again:
“I think that’s the aim for a lot of players and I presume that’s the aim for Phil Neville as well. The atmosphere was incredible and you could hear the fans throughout and that’s the sort of feeling that all women’s football players want from the crowd. The Man City fans are always incredible, they follow us up and down the country and we’ve got a good fanbase. But yeah, it’s such a special trophy the FA Cup and Wembley is such a momentous stadium in terms of English football so I think that women being able to play here now is pretty incredible.”

 

Georgia Stanway on having her photo taken with Steph Houghton as a youngster:
“That picture just proves how important role models are – I’ve always looked up to Steph. I remember queueing for a good half hour to get a picture with her but she’s one of my best mates now so she’ll give me stick for how my hair looked!”

On becoming a role model herself:
“Sometimes you kind of get caught up in the bubble of training, matches, wanting to do your best and you kind of forget what’s on the outside but today makes it worthwhile, the fact that they’re screaming your name and supporting you. Hopefully, a game like that, if we inspire 10 girls we’ve done our job, but hopefully a day like that can inspire thousands.”

On the first half compared to the second:
“Going into a cup final is always going to be difficult, whether you are playing a team in the league or cup, a cup is a completely different game, especially a final. I think potentially the occasion could have got to us in the first-half, we definitely weren’t our usual selves. But we knew going in at half-time that we had to kick up another gear and you could see in the second-half the capability we’ve got as a side and how much we turned it on in the second-half, scoring the three goals.”

Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

On getting the player of the match award:
“It’s amazing. It kind of came as a shock, I just do my job and obviously I was happy to score and if that came with it then unbelievable. But it’s as much a credit to the girls, I definitely can’t do it without them and lifting the trophy is the most important thing.”

On the coming England World Cup squad announcement:
“It’s been a week that I won’t forget, going into the summer I’ve got the mentality that whatever happens happens now. I’ve done what I can and tried to put myself in the best possible position. If it doesn’t come then I’m still young, I’ve got plenty of years to go.”

On Alan Shearer!
“He’s always been my idol and I’ve always been a Newcastle fan. He’s a prolific goalscorer and I’m trying to match that.”

 

Substitute Lauren Hemp on how it felt to win the trophy and score:
“It was amazing, to get the win, a big team performance especially in that second half and to come on and score was unbelievable for me really.”

On her goal:
“I played it as soon as I got close to it because I saw [the keeper] coming out so then I just tried to get it past her somehow and ended up hitting it first time instead of taking it round her.”

Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

On hitting the post:
“That was close, I then tried to get back up and hit it again but was a bit unlucky but at least I scored [earlier], that’s the main thing!”

On how the match ranks in her career:
“Very highly, it’s an unbelievable experience and I hope to have many more opportunities like this in the future as well.”

West Ham United captain Gilly Flaherty on Karen Bardsley’s crucial first-half save:
“On another day, that would have gone in but KB’s made a great save and kept them in it. It’s hard and it’s a game of what ifs, but it’s not worked out that way.”

Steph Houghton (right) of Manchester City and Gilly Flaherty (left) of West Ham lead out the teams
in the 2019 SSE Women’s FA Cup final. Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

On the experience her younger team mates will have gained:

“I think they did really well. I don’t think anyone was fazed by it, no-one’s game changed at all, they just took it in their stride. They’re professionals and I said, regardless of the result today they are making memories that will last them a lifetime and will serve them going forward in other games. They will never forget that defeat, the feel of it and it will spur them on for the rest of their careers.”

On the end of the season:
“We’ve got one more game left, Brighton at home, we’ll end on a high, try and get up a position in the table. It’s been fantastic for our first year together to get to the FA Cup final and we’re sitting mid-table, didn’t have a relegation battle like people thought we were going to be in. We can be immensely proud of where we are.”

On matching Man City in the first-half:
“I think we surprised a few people because I think people thought we were going to get absolutely spanked to be honest and to go in there at half-time, I spoke to a City girl at the end of the game and she was like, ‘We were panicking at half-time because we couldn’t break you down,’ so maybe they underestimated us as well.”

On West Ham goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse:
“She was gutted, obviously she’s in a position where she’s the last man. She’s been fantastic for us this year, she got us through that semi-final [against Reading], she made those penalty saves and one game doesn’t define all season. She’s been a top pro, she’ll learn from it, she’s still young. She’s a top girl and an important player for this team and I know she’ll bounce back.”

By Catherine Etoe (@Lionsonhershirt)