Search

Arsenal Ladies boss signs off with win over Everton to complete FA Cup double

07:16 03 June 2014

Yukari Kinga celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal Ladies

Yukari Kinga celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal Ladies

EMPICS Sport

Shelley Kerr brought the curtain down on her 16-month reign as head coach by guiding the Gunners to FA Women’s Cup glory at Stadium MK.

Goals from inspirational captain Kelly Smith and Yukari Kinga enabled the holders to record their 13th success in the competition – an ideal response after suffering three straight home defeats in the league.

The margin of victory may have been greater were it not for the heroics of Toffees’ stopper Rachel Brown-Finnis – but Kerr, who guided Arsenal to FA Continental Cup glory and now two FA Women’s Cups, was full of praise for the players she is now leaving behind.

“I thought the girls were fantastic. It was nothing new to me – they’ve trained liked that every day I’ve worked with them,” said Kerr, who announced her resignation last week.

“In most of the games this season, we’ve seen evidence of what we’re capable of producing. Unfortunately so far, up until now, we hadn’t been consistent over 90 minutes.

“We dominated with a fantastic team performance. It was a thoroughly deserved win and I’m really proud of them.”

It was Smith, England’s all-time record goalscorer, who set the Gunners on their way to a men’s and women’s FA Cup double for the first time since 1998.

And Kerr, who succeeded Laura Harvey as head coach in February 2013, was lost for superlatives to describe the ability of a player who now has four FA Cup winners’ medals with Arsenal.

“She’s just incredible,” added the outgoing coach. “She’ll hate me for saying this, but she’s 35 years old! You will never see a player like her in England again, she is so talented.

“Every time she takes a free-kick, I’m almost writing on my note pad ‘it’s a goal’. That’s the quality she has – she is a fantastic leader. Kelly is not the most vocal person, but she leads by example on and off the pitch.”

Arsenal were the better side throughout, and had already seen Rachel Yankey’s 25-yard shot hit a post before Smith struck the opener just shy of the quarter-hour mark.

Danielle Carter, a constant threat down the right, was upended on the edge of the box, allowing Smith to curl the ball left-footed beyond the outstretched Brown-Finnis for her sixth goal in this year’s competition.

Carter was denied a goal of her own making when her left-foot shot grazed the post, while Shinobu Ohno also came close to doubling Arsenal’s lead before the interval.

But there was little that could be done to prevent the craftsmanship involved when the Gunners’ second goal arrived on the hour-mark.

Determined to avenge their 3-2 defeat to the Toffees in the 2010 final, Smith hurdled a couple of desperate challenges before finding the onrushing Kinga, who placed her right-foot shot low inside the right-hand post.

Arsenal are not in action again until later this month, but Kerr is in no doubt that whoever replaces her at the helm will be joining a side moving in the right direction.

She added: “Arsenal are a fantastic club and they gave me an opportunity to work with a fantastic group of players, and I had an opportunity to work with some of the most talented youngsters in the country.

“There is no doubt in my mind they will go on to be successful. Half our team are 21 and under, which is brilliant.

“The future is definitely bright, that’s for sure.”

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 09:00
John Ryder celebrates beating Theophilus Tetteh during their Middleweight fight at the O2 Arena, London.

Islington middleweight John Ryder is looking forward to facing the experienced Argentine fighter Billi Facundo Godoy in his first defence of the WBO inter-continental title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

Wed, 12:10
Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky celebrates with his team-mates (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti ponders what might lie in store for the Gunners in the FA Cup.

Tue, 21:48
From left: Highgate Harriers’ Ben Noad, Brahma Pochee, Murray Strain, Jon Laybourn and Robert Wilson won bronze medals at the South of England Cross-Country Championships at Stanmer Park in Brighton. Pic: Dieter Perry

Jon Laybourn stormed to his best ever cross-country finish as Highgate Harriers’ men came third at the South of England Championships in Brighton on Saturday.

Mon, 17:31
Arsenal Ladies' Alex Scott

EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal Ladies full-back Alex Scott is looking forward to the start of the new FA Women’s Super League season after the 2015 fixture list was announced today.

Most read sport

Everyone – from Labour politicians and the French president to Hitler and democracy itself – fell foul of Churchill’s sharp wit.

The robot is an extension of the surgeon’s arms – it’s not doing anything independently.

The rise is levelling off but we can’t be complacent, say researchers.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder