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Williamson: Arsenal ‘did everything’ to win Continental League Cup silverware

PUBLISHED: 10:30 06 March 2020

Arsenal's Leah Williamson (left) and Chelsea's Ji So-yun battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City Ground

Arsenal's Leah Williamson (left) and Chelsea's Ji So-yun battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City Ground

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal’s Leah Williamson was almost at a loss to explain how they had managed to lose the Continental League Cup final to Chelsea on Sunday.

Arsenal's Caitlin Foord (left) and Chelsea's Sophie Ingle battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City GroundArsenal's Caitlin Foord (left) and Chelsea's Sophie Ingle battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City Ground

The Gunners had most of the play and England international Williamson cancelled out Beth England's opening goal at the City Ground in Nottingham, with only five minutes left.

But England tapped home an injury-time winner for Chelsea to deny Arsenal a record sixth title in the competition and Williamson told arsenal.com: "I don't think you could have asked any more of anyone.

"Total domination of a game and then you lose. I wished we'd won the game but don't know the answer, or how we'd have done any more, apart from put the ball in the back of the net."

England opend the scoring from eight yards, but Arsenal then controlled play in front of a record final crowd of 6,743 only to be denied by Ann-Katrin Berger's heroics in the Chelsea goal.

Arsenal's Lisa Evans (left) Chelsea's Bethany England battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City GroundArsenal's Lisa Evans (left) Chelsea's Bethany England battle for the ball during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup final at the City Ground

Louise Quinn, Jordan Nobbs and Vivianne Miedema were all denied, before Jill Foord flashed a shot just wide.

But England sent a free header just past the post and Manuela Zinsberger had to save from Sam Kerr with her feet, before Caitlin Foord fired into the side netting.

Arsenal were on top in the second half, with Miedema shaving the post with a low shot and Nobbs firing wide, before the Dutch striker headed just past the post.

Berger denied Miedema with a stunning close-range save but Williamson scrambled home from close range to square matters.

England converted Erin Cuthbert's low ball through the six-yard box to win it, though, and Williamson added: "I always seem to score and we lose, so it's a bit bittersweet. Getting the equaliser late on, you could feel it coming.

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"I certainly could and to not see it out is something we'll have to analyse and go through. I just think after getting an equaliser I would've taken extra time and anything.

"I would've played that game continuously and hoped we'd have won in the end. I really through that was going to happen and I'm bitterly disappointed.

"We felt so in control. I had a great time on the pitch and finals are all about being your best on the pitch and we actually were.

"They defended well, saw out their 1-0 lead for a long time and scoring late on too. I just thought it was going to be ours."

Boss Joe Montemurro was simiarly baffled as to how his side had not ended up lifting the silverware.

The Australian added: "I'm exceptionally proud of the team. This one has hurt, we did enough and more to win that game, but we didn't.

"I can't fault the group. We have to be strong, we have to believe on the journey, we have to believe in the fact we're always there.

"Getting in cup finals, where we're dominating games. In the end, football will win. I'm a great believer in that and maybe my stubbornness comes from that perspective but there's so much you can defend in transition football that doesn't come back to bite you, because good teams will always win on the day."

As for the performance of academy graduate Williamson, who played in a midfield, role, he said: "I'm proud of her. I've asked her to do a different role because our options in that area have been limited through injuries.

"I never had an issue that she wouldn't be okay in doing that role and it's a tough one. I thought we did enough to make sure we'd finish that game off, but we didn't."

Arsenal return to action with an FA Cup quarter-final tie against north London neighbours Tottenham at Meadow Park on Sunday week (March 15, 1pm).

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