Arsenal Ladies beat Birmingham to reach their fifth straight Continental Cup final
PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:01 11 October 2015
Arsenal Ladies 3 Birmingham City Ladies 1
Goals from Marta Corredera, Dani Carter and Alex Scott took Arsenal Ladies through to their fifth consecutive Continental Cup final as they saw off Birmingham.
The Gunners, who won the trophy three times in a row before losing last year’s final to Manchester City Women, will have the chance to regain it on November 1 at Rotherham’s New York Stadium.
Spanish midfielder Correredera and Carter, who recently scored a hat-trick on her England debut, both netted early for the home side in Sunday’s semi-final and skipper Alex Scott made it 3-1 before Kirsty Linnett struck a consolation for the Blues.
Arsenal began at an intense pace and Jordan Nobbs was off target before Carter slammed a 20-yard rocket against the bar with Blues goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley beaten.
But another spectacular strike put the Gunners in front in the 13th minute as Carter’s cross was only cleared to the edge of the box and Corredera pounced, hammering an unstoppable drive into the far corner.
And Arsenal were 2-0 up within 60 seconds of the restart when Carter raced onto a through ball from Nobbs and deftly lobbed the onrushing Baggaley.
Carter had an opportunity to further extend the Gunners’ advantage late in the first half, but the spin on Vicky Losada’s weighted pass prevented her from getting in a clean strike.
Birmingham fought back and created a handful of openings, the best of them coming when Karen Carney’s deflected shot was pushed onto the post by Sari van Veenendaal just before half-time.
But the home side added a third goal just two minutes after the break as Corredera broke down the left-hand side and fired a shot that Baggaley could only parry, with Scott rifling home the loose ball.
Far from giving up the battle, the Blues poured forward in response and thought they had reduced the deficit when Meaghan Sargeant hooked a volley into the corner, but the goal was disallowed.
However, Birmingham did pull one back on 58 minutes – a stunning goal from Linnett, who took aim from 25 yards and arrowed a precision strike into the top corner with van Veenendaal helpless.
Arsenal had to withstand a surge of Blues pressure but, although Emily Westwood headed over, the home side never looked in danger of missing out on the final.
Arsenal Ladies: Van Veenendaal; Scott, Rose, Stoney, Williamson; Losada (Yankey 70), Nobbs, Janssen (Sampson 90); Carter, Natalia (Ubogagu 77), Corredera.
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