FA Women's Cup: Arsenal beat Liverpool to reach final

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter at Anfield

Arsenal strode into their 13th FA Women's Cup final with a narrow but deserved 2-1 win against Liverpool.

Striker Ellen White shot the Gunners in front midway through the first half of the semi-final at Anfield.

Reds forward Natasha Dowie equalised just before the break when she headed in Louise For's cross.

Scotland midfielder Kim Little restored the visitors' lead early in the second half and Liverpool's challenge faded in the closing stages.

Five days earlier Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals at German side Wolfsburg and manager Shelley Kerr was delighted by her side's response.

"The players showed so much character to bounce back so strongly from Sunday's disappointment," said Kerr.

"We played some really good football and created so many chances that we could have won by a much wider margin."

The Gunners were knocked out by Chelsea at the semi-final stage last season and Kerr added: "The girls were so anxious to make amends for last year.

"Playing at a great stadium like Anfield helped - we were really looking forward to the game and the girls showed they were absolutely up for it."

Liverpool manager Matt Beard, who as Chelsea boss was behind Arsenal's semi-final exit last term, admitted it was a frustrating night for his team.

"We didn't have the rub of the green, but the goals we conceded both came from us having possession and getting hit on the counter," he said.

"So it was very disappointing, but on the 90 minutes Arsenal deserved to win."

With a crowd of 2,008 cheering them on Liverpool should have taken an early lead when Icelandic midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir sent a free header wide before England midfielder Fara Williams's 20-yard drive flew wide of the Arsenal post.

And it was the Gunners, with what was their first effort on target, who grabbed the 25th-minute opener.

White latched on to left winger Rachel Yankey's through-ball to squeeze a close range shot past goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill.

The England striker almost doubled her tally 10 minutes later, her snap shot bouncing back off the near post, and then shot straight at Quantrill from eight yards.

Those misses proved costly as Liverpool drew level two minutes into first-half stoppage time.

Sweden international midfielder Fors crossed from the right and Dowie flung herself at the ball to head low into the net.

The Reds then pressed straight after the interval, but Arsenal hit them on the break to score a superb second goal.

Right-winger Gemma Davison raced out of defence to loft a cross-field pass to Little, who ran on to strike a low 18-yard drive just inside the far post.

Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession inside the Arsenal half, the Reds failed to produce any clear-cut openings in the final half-hour.

Eleven-time winners Arsenal will now face either Bristol Academy or Lincoln, who meet in the second semi on Sunday. The final takes place on 26 May at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.

Top Stories