Continental Cup: Manchester City beat Arsenal to win first trophy

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter at Adams Park
Man City's cup winning moment

Manchester City won their first major trophy as they beat holders Arsenal 1-0 to lift the Continental Cup.

Arsenal dominated the first half at Adams Park but could not beat City keeper Karen Bardsley, who saved well from Danielle Carter.

City improved after half-time and took the lead when Isobel Christiansen headed in Krystle Johnston's cross.

The result ends Arsenal's record of having won the competition every year since it was introduced in 2011.

City Manager Nick Cushing, responsible for ending the team's 26-year wait for a trophy in his first season in the women's game, said: "This is well-deserved and a reward for the players, who have been exceptional."

Arsenal boss Pedro Martinez Losa said: "We were phenomenal in the first half but they stayed alive and had their time also, and they scored a fantastic goal.

"It is a disappointment for us, but we can only move forward. This club is used to winning and we will make sure that the next final we play we can win."

Manchester City
Isobel Christiansen's goal brought Manchester City their first piece of silverware

City have a long way to go to match Arsenal's silverware record, the Gunners having collected 41 trophies in the last 21 years.

But captain Steph Houghton, who last year lifted the Continental Cup as an Arsenal player, is confident that more trophies can follow.

"It's an honour to collect the trophy again," she said. "Being ex-Arsenal it's a strange feeling, but my focus has always been Manchester City this season and this meant so much to every one of us.

"We've experienced that feeling now and it can spur us on for next season.

"This club's all about winning silverware and we want to emulate the men's team in winning things - it's definitely looking up for the future."

City deserved their victory but had to recover from a nervous start in which Arsenal twice might have taken an early lead.

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs sent an 18-yard shot wide, then left-winger Rachel Yankey did the same from 15 yards.

City were being outplayed and their first goal attempt, a Jill Scott snap-shot that flew harmlessly over the bar, did not arrive until the 31st minute.

Four minutes later the Gunners were denied an opening goal by Bardsley, who brilliantly kept out striker Carter's shot at point-blank range.

And Bardsley came to her team's rescue again in first-half stoppage time, diving at Yankey's feet as the winger was about to shoot from five yards.

Following a below-par first period City improved after the break, but it took until midway through the half for them to force Emma Byrne into a save, the keeper diving to clutch Houghton's 30-yard free-kick.

The game's decisive moment arrived six minutes later, Christiansen heading home an excellent Johnston cross.

Houghton almost doubled the lead with a late free-kick that was turned on to the bar by Byrne.

But City had done enough to wrap up a memorable season in style.

"We had a nervy start," admitted Cushing, "but we showed great endeavour to stay in the game and then played some really good football in the second half to win it."