Good afternoon and welcome to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley. You are with me, George Overhill, for the duration of the action.
Team News is in
That’s MacIver, Wold, Turner, Finnigan, Sevecke, Egurrola, Christiansen, Raso, Graham, Sorensen & Gauvin for Everton.
And Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton, Greenwood, Stokes, Mewis, Walsh, Lavelle, Kelly, White & Weir for Manchester City.
Today is the 50th Women’s FA Cup and is actually the final of last season’s competition. The coronavirus pandemic suspended play at the quarter final stage with the later rounds not restarting until September.
Speaking of coronavirus, we will be once again watching a game without fans inside the stadium.
Both teams have won the competition twice before, with City, the current holders, having won both their trips to the final since Everton last won the cup.
We might be putting the finishing touches to last season with the final today but let’s have a look at how both sides have started this season.
Everton may be the underdogs today but they have started the season strongly, unbeaten in five, and sitting second in the league.
Manchester City on the other hand have had an indifferent start. Two draws, a loss at Chelsea, and also defeat to Chelsea in the Community Shield. The favourites sit in fifth.Embed from Getty Images
Good to see the coverage of the women’s game continues to grow. Today’s game is being broadcast live on both BBC One and BT Sport.
Everton manager Willie Kirk is keen to ensure his side are here to win – “The challenge for me is to make sure we’re not happy just being at Wembley… We now want to go one better and actually, I don’t think there’s any point in going to Wembley unless you are going to win it.”
His opposite number Gareth Taylor wants to take win everything this year. “We’ve got the opportunity to go for five trophies this season, two of them being FA Cup competitions in one season.”
Big talk… let’s see how today goes. The players are out on the pitch…
Manchester City winger Chloe Kelly has somewhat hedged her bets for today. She played for Everton in the early rounds of this competition last season before moving to City to help them reach the final in the later rounds. She can’t really lose.Embed from Getty Images
The players take a knee before kick off in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and…
0 mins – Lucy Bronze with a customary early run down the right, halted by the Everton defence.
2 mins – A misplaced pass just in front of the Everton area gives Chloe Kelly an early chance but her scuffed shot does not test MacIver.
3 mins – It’s all City so far. Another quick counter attack sees Kelly try to tee up Ellen White before the shot is blocked.
5 mins – Demi Stokes catches a flailing arm in the face which will give Everton a chance to catch their breath. It has been a full throttle opening from Manchester City.
7 mins – A good combination down the left hand side for Everton goes to waste as the cross is straight to Ellie Roebuck in the City goal.
The operators of the City Twitter account are happy with the start. There are not wrong so far.
10 mins – Moe Wold is forced to concede the first corner to deal with a deep cross into the Everton box.
11 mins – The corner is dealt with fairly comfortably and headed away.
13 mins – A lot of the City attack is coming down the right hand side through the combination of Bronze and Kelly. Everton left back Danielle Turner really has her hands full.
14 mins – Yellow card for Lucy Bronze as she brings down Raso just outside the area after Steph Houghton couldn’t control the pass from Stokes. A reminder for City…
15 mins – The free kick hits the wall and the follow up is over the bar from Egurrola but that will be encouraging for Everton.Embed from Getty Images
18 mins – Ellen White is fed by Sam Mewis but Megan Finnigan does well to take control of the ball and get it away.
19 mins – Kelly cuts in on her left foot and hits a good low shot that Sandy MacIver parries at her near post.
22 mins – Raso brings down Bronze on the right and Wier prepares to swing a ball into the box…
23 mins – Valerie Gauvin heads the ball away and it is eventually cleared by Raso. That is Gauvin’s first real involvement as the danger-woman has looked isolated up top. Everton will be hoping to get her involved in the opposition box rather than their own.
24 mins – Yellow card for Raso as she brings down Bronze again.
24 mins – Suddenly Sam Mewis is almost in but MacIver does well to bravely come out and smother the shot inside the box.
26 mins – Everton captain Lucy Graham appears to be fouled in midfield but the referee allows play to continue. City counter and it is only some strong defending that stops them getting a shot on goal.
30 mins – Ellen White doesn’t quite get hold of a volley on the turn but the flag had gone up for offside.
32 mins – The banter between Jonathan Pierce and Sue Smith in the commentary box has moved up a level…
33 mins – Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and England manager Phil Neville are both in the stands looking lonely.
34 mins – Chance for Everton! Out of nowhere suddenly Gauvin powers a header narrowly wide after a cross from the right. That is much more positive for Everton.
36 mins – Rose Lavelle goes down in the box but more because the ball has got away from her than due to a foul. She doesn’t appeal anyway.
37 mins – Gauvin puts a tackle in and is slow to get up. She looked to get her leg caught underneath her but she is smiling as she gets to her feet and looks fine to continue.
38 mins – Caroline Wier makes a run down the left hand channel and her shot is deflected wide for a corner to City.
39 mins – GOAL!!! Everton 0-1 Manchester City (Sam Mewis)
The World Cup winner from the USA heads in the resulting corner from Alex Greenwood. She made it look so simple as she met the flight of the ball perfectly and nodded it past MacIver. Everton won’t be happy that she was able to do so almost unchallenged.Embed from Getty Images
42 mins – Former City player Izzy Christiansen wins a free kick wide in the right after a challenge from Greenwood. Christiansen herself swings in a deep cross but Ellie Roebuck is commanding in claiming the second ball.
No surprise that they are happy with that opener in Manchester…
45 mins +1 – Valerie Gauvin holds her run and is set free behind City’s high line but a heavy touch allows captain Steph Houghton to slide in and clear. The follow through crashes into Gauvin and leaves her in pain lying in the box. Worrying for Everton…
45 mins + 2 – The physios are on and looking at Gauvin. She is on her feet but being helped very delicately to the touchline. She does not look comfortable at all.
45 mins + 4 – Half Time – One minute of injury time becomes more than three thanks to that injury to Gauvin. The whistle goes with the France international still struggling to fight through the pain. City will be happy with their first half performance. They have been in control with England full backs Stokes and Bronze prominent and Chloe Kelly looking dangerous on the right. Everton had defended strongly and had a few moments of their own on the counter before Mewis headed City ahead.
Karen Carney feels that for all City’s dominance they are not making the most of it. Ellen White’s talent in the box is being wasted if they are not going to get the ball into her says the former Chelsea star.
Gabbie Logan seems to be pulling a full Jake Humphries at half time as she appears to be trying to show England legends Alex Scott, Rachel Brown-Finnis and Carney who is boss in the studio. I’m sure all three will be seeing the funny side…
Differing perspectives on the current state of the game there unsurprisingly.
46 mins – Back under way for the second half and Gauvin is still out there. That didn’t look likely 15 minutes ago. No changes for either side.
47 mins – It appears Sorensen and Raso have switched sides for Everton. Perhaps an indication that Raso is being overworked keeping tabs on Lucy Bronze rather than attacking in her own right.
Also at half-time, FA Women’s Professional Game Director Kelly Simmons confirmed that elite level women’s football will continue during the upcoming lockdown. Good news that the women’s game will not be taking a back seat to the men’s as it felt earlier this year.
52 mins – The second half hasn’t really settled into any sort of rhythm just yet. Both sides yet to really put together anything substantial since the break.
54 mins – City give the ball away at the back but the cross is headed away by Houghton. Gauvin’s running does look to be hampered by that injury.
55 mins – Huge chance! Caroline Wier slides a shot across the goal which comes back off the far post. The rebound is begging to be put away by Chloe Kelly but an incredible save from Sandy MacIver tips the ball over the bar. Fantastic reactions to get back to her feet quickly and be in position to make that save.
City would probably have been out of sight if that Kelly rebound had gone in. MacIver has kept her side in the game there.
56 mins – Raso comes off worse as she goes to make a challenge on Lavelle on the far side. The American managed to back heel the Everton winger in both legs and Raso is still feeling that.
59 mins – Big chance! Another great save, this time from Roebuck at the other end. Gauvin had hit a shot on the turn from an Everton corner and the rebound was heading in before the City keeper’s intervention to tip it over the bar.
60 mins – GOAL!!! Everton 1-1 Manchester City (Valerie Gauvin)
From the resulting corner Izzy Christiansen swings a corner into the near post and Gauvin, having battled against that injury at the end of the first half, rises to head in and bring Everton level. The ball appeared to go in off the back of her head.
That is just what this game needed. Great spirit from Gauvin who looked like she would have to be coming off.Embed from Getty Images
62 mins – Substitution – Ellen White is replaced by Georgia Stanway for Manchester City. White has not been able to fully get into the game. As Karen Carney said at half time, City haven’t really played to her strengths.
64 mins – After a quiet opening for the half it has been end to end stuff for the past ten minutes. Georgia Stanway delays playing Lavelle in and the flag is up for offside.
66 mins – A dangerous flat ball is fired in from a free kick on the right hand side by Christiansen but it goes through everybody in the box and comes out without a touch on it.
Suddenly, set piece deliveries from Christiansen have started having a say on this match.
68 mins – The number 22 from each side clash as Sevecke fouls Mewis but the resulting free kick comes to nothing.
70 mins – Substitution – Another change for City as young Jess Park comes on to replace USA international Rose Lavelle. Lavelle has had less of an impact on this game than her international teammate.
72 mins – Close for Everton! A great cross in from the left by Nicoline Sorensen but Gauvin can only power the header wide of the near post as she arrived at speed. Good move from Everton.
74 mins – Then close for Manchester City at the other end as Kelly cuts in from the left and drags a low shot just wide of the near post.
The venue for this match chimes in with a good point. Everton have really grown into this game after their equaliser.
75 mins – Georgia Stanway and Izzy Christiansen come together as Stanway slides in with a strong tackle and gets a hand in the face for her troubles. Both sides leaving everything out there right now.
76 mins – Substitution – First change for Everton as Hayley Raso comes off for Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah. Meanwhile Kelly takes some time to recover from landing awkwardly after going up for a header.
78 mins – MacIver just about manages to save her side from having to defend a corner as she keeps a deflected shot in play at the second attempt.
80 mins – Stanway receives a pass on the edge of the D and, after a sharp turn, fires a shot just wide.
81 mins – Yellow card – Stanway is making up for lost time after coming on as a late substitute as she overruns the ball and leaves a foot in on Sevecke.
82 mins – A crunching 50-50 between Park and Damaris Egurrola sees the Everton player clear the ball but take the brunt of the impact. She is still down.
Neither side can be accused of letting this FA Cup final slide by without a fight. Both sets of players are making their presence clearly felt in this second half.
85 mins – Nicoline Sorensen tries to fire in a cross from the right which is heading in at the near post before Roebuck gets a hand to it to push it over the top. Meanwhile, Lucy Graham is down after rolling her ankle when tracking back to challenge Weir.
87 mins – Another set piece is sent in by Christiansen but after the ball is headed up in the air Roebuck can claim.
88 mins – Mewis fires a shot over from the edge of the area after a penetrating run from Park.Embed from Getty Images
89 mins – Bronze gets to the byline on the right and hangs a cross up which Kelly meets around the penalty spot, but the shot goes high and over the bar. Manchester City are pushing for a winner here.
90 mins – We are entering six minutes of injury time now.
90 mins + 2 – Substitution – Everton captain Lucy Graham has signalled she is going to need to come off. The ball finally goes out after some City possession and she is replaced by Molly Pike.
90 mins + 3 – Huge chance for City to win it! Demi Stokes cuts the ball back and finds Caroline Wier just outside the six yard box for the winner, but she hits the shot over.
90 mins + 5 – Another huge chance for City! A great one-two between Wier and Kelly almost sees Wier make up for her miss but she hits the bar with a shot from the edge of the box.
90 mins + 6 – Then Egurrola heads wide from a corner at the other end.
90 mins + 7 – Full time – The whistle goes and we are still level at 1-1. We will go to extra time. A fantastic second half.
Everton have shown fantastic spirit to fight their way back into this game but Manchester City should surely have won it with at least one of those Wier chances near the end.
Incidentally, Valerie Gauvin has lasted the full 90. Other players have eventually succumbed to the pace and physicality of this game but she is still battling on and, as well as bringing her side level, was closest to taking the lead for Everton.
ET 0 mins – We are back under way, and after I have just bigged up Gauvin she has not come out for extra time. Still a great effort from the Everton striker today.
Substitutions – That’s Guavin and Sevecke both off then and Simone Magill and Poppy Pattinson on for Everton.
ET 3 mins – A half chance for City from a Greenwood corner but MacIver has the ball in her hands.
ET 5 mins – You will no doubt have noticed that we do have the full period of extra time today and have not gone straight to penalties. The shootout of course awaits if neither side can find a winner.
ET 6 mins – Sam Mewis works herself some space but her shot doesn’t have the power it needs and MacIver gathers.
ET 7 mins – Mewis with another driving run, nearly gets it through to her teammate but a deflection takes it through to the keeper. Mewis has a look on her face like she would rather not have to end this final on her own but will if she has to.
ET 9 mins – Substitution – Egurrola can’t continue and is replaced by Stringer for Everton.
ET 11 mins – Stringer, not quite up to speed yet, gives the ball away in a dangerous area but Stanway was offside when Park tried to play her in.
That speed has noticeably dropped from the blood and thunder of the second half.
ET 13 mins – Turner is now wearing the captain’s armband for Everton since Graham departed. She has put in shift after that early onslaught from Kelly.
ET 14 mins – Turner gets a foot to a cross before Stanway has a shot deflected wide. Stanway has looked dangerous since she came on.
ET 15 mins – Somehow City aren’t ahead! Stanway nicks the ball past MacIver and Turner and appears to be ready to slot the ball into an open net before Finnigan appears from nowhere to take the ball away from her.
ET 15 mins + 1 – And again! Steph Houghton gets a strong header to a corner which is heading back across the keeper and in the far corner but Sandy MacIver gets a brilliant left hand to the ball to tip it onto the post and to safety.
Half time in extra time – So, much like the end of the second half of normal time, Manchester City have two huge chances to take the lead. Megan Finnigan rescues her keeper to deny Stanway, then MacIver shows her thanks by denying Houghton.
Karen Carney loved that save from MacIver on the gantry.
ET 16 mins – We are back under way. Houghton goes down with some cramp after being challenged as she clears the ball.
It is an overused cliche but there has been some really heroic defending from Everton today. If Manchester City end up not winning the trophy they will be wondering how.
ET 20 mins – Not a huge amount to report from the second half of extra time here. After the end to the first period a slight lull is probably to be expected.
ET 21 mins – GOAL!!! Everton 1-2 Manchester City (Georgia Stanway)
Moments after Izzy Christiansen had thrown herself in front of a Stanway shot on the edge of the area, the forward is slipped in beautifully by Park and manages to poke an early finish past MacIver and in off the near post. Could that be the winner?Embed from Getty Images
It is probably a fair reflection of the game on balance but you have to feel for the Everton players who have put so much into holding Manchester City at bay. City have refused to give up though and continued to create chance after chance. They will be relieved to have finally forced one past Everton. Stanway has been excellent since she came on.
ET 26 mins – As Roebuck catches an Everton shot at the other end, Sandy MacIver has been awarded player of the match for the incredible saves she has made today. It won’t be much of a consolation if the scores stay the same though.
ET 28 mins – City are into game management mode now. Mewis wins a free kick on the right.
ET 29 mins – Substitution – Chloe Kelly goes off and Beckie comes on. Kelly was very lively early on before fading slightly as the game went on. She will be pleased with her performance overall.
ET 30 mins – Sandy MacIver is forward for a corner…
ET 30 mins + 1 – The ball falls to the keeper on the edge of the area but she is only able to slice an over head kick up in the air. It would have been an incredible end to her game if she had managed to be a goal scoring hero as well as a goal saving one.
ET 30 mins + 2 – Park knows what is needed at this stage as she takes the ball into the corner and wastes some valuable time under pressure from two defenders.
ET 30 mins + 2 – GOAL!!! Everton 1-3 Manchester City (Janine Beckie)
With the final kick of the game the late substitute slides a third into the far corner. More good work from Stanway to twist and turn before squaring it for the oncoming Beckie who kept her calm to ensure that Manchester City retain their trophy.Embed from Getty Images
Full time – Everton 1-3 Manchester City – Manchester City retain the Vitality Women’s FA Cup
So Manchester City will have the chance to win two FA Cups in a single season by winning the 2020 version. They are deserved winners as they were the better side throughout. A whole host of chances went begging thanks to huge defensive performances for Everton but ultimately the quality in the City ranks paid. They kept going until the very last kick of the game to ensure the trophy stayed in Manchester.Embed from Getty Images
It is harsh on Everton who gave it everything and battled back into the game after a first half where they were second best. They made a game of it in the second half before holding on for most of extra time. Sandy MacIver was a deserved player of the match in goal for Everton, and Valerie Gauvin fought against injury to bring them level, but ultimately it was the substitutes from City who put the game away for City. Stanway and Park were particularly impressive off the bench.
Everton goalkeeper and player of the match Sandy MacIver is disappointed but proud today. “I think the back line today were superb… This is just the start for us this season.”
Medals are not being presented today due to Covid-19. The Manchester City players are simply walking past a platform and picking up their medals themselves.
Steph Houghton hangs back, picks up her own medal, then brings the trophy itself across to celebrate with her teammates. A fifth FA Cup for her.Embed from Getty Images
That’s it from me. Thank you for joining for today’s FA Cup Final. Manchester City win again.