Women’s FA Cup final: Sam Kerr scores winner as Wembley sees record attendance for domestic football

Sam Kerr seals a fifth FA Cup trophy for Chelsea

Sam Kerr scored what would be the only goal in the Women’s FA Cup final as Chelsea secured their fifth title, retaining their crown from last year.

Marc Skinner’s Manchester United had been hopeful of completing one of the biggest upsets in English women’s football but it was not meant to be as his side failed to get on the scoresheet. While the Red Devils will mourn their missed chances, both sides will celebrate having been part of a day which saw a new record set.

77,390 fans cheered on at Wembley making it the highest attendance for a domestic women’s club fixture. The number of supporters smashed the previous record which was set by Barcelona’s win over Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. 60,739 saw Barca’s victory but Wembley has once again broken the records for attendance in women’s football.

FA director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell said: “To break the world record is a massive statement and a wonderful marker as to where the women’s game has come in this country.

“I’ve said before that we’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got an incredibly long way to go and we know that. But it’s another marker in the sand that the game in this country is now alive and well, flourishing and growing.”

Sam Kerr flips after scoring Chelsea’s winning FA Cup final goalSam Kerr flips after scoring Chelsea’s winning FA Cup final goal
Sam Kerr flips after scoring Chelsea’s winning FA Cup final goal

The record does, however, fall short of the 91,648 fans who watched the Women’s Champions League semi-finals last year as Barcelona beat Wolfsburg at the Nou Camp. It also comes after the FA received criticism for their ticket allocations to Chelsea and Manchester United who were both given just 7,500 tickets for their fans.

What happened in Chelsea vs Manchester United?

The Blues’ first-half was relatively subdued with Manchester United looking the more likely to attack. However, just before the hour mark, Emma Hayes brough Sophie Ingle and Pernille Harder into the action and eight minutes later Harder handed Sam Kerr a stunning cross which the Australian was able to convincingly send to the back of the net.

Speaking after the match, Emma Hayes said: “I will pat myself on the back. The most important thing is more silverware. Man United made it hard, they are a wonderful football team. This is a victory for grind. Hard work matters and we can roll our sleeves up with the best of them. Our team has been in transition, we had six different players in our starting XI to last year’s final.”

Manchester United delivered a final few minutes of onslaught as the clock ticked away in added time but it was not enough to send the Red Devils into extra-time.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Skinner said: “I’m proud of all the girls, they showed a real maturity and something that will only hold us in good stead going into these games in the future. I can see very clearly what Manchester United needs to be in the next year or two and the recruitment we need to make us be in that position but I believe we can overtake Chelsea.

I know that sounds strange, but that’s the desire and belief I have… that’s what I’m going to keep working towards and I promise the Man United fans that I won’t stop until we’re in a constant winning phase.”

What’s next?

Manchester United are still ahead in the WSL title race but are just one point ahead of Chelsea with one more game. It still feels very much as if it’s Chelsea’s title to take but as they prepare for their final three games left of the season, there is still all to play for.

Chelsea play West Ham on Wednesday 17 May before facing Arsenal on Sunday 21 May and Reading in the season finale. Manchester United, on the other hand, will play Manchester City on Sunday 21 May before travelling to Liverpool on Sunday 27 May.