Despite resounding wins against Leeds, Everton and Stoke in previous rounds, United couldn’t hold off the reigning champions to clinch their first major cup trophy.
Both teams started slowly with a stalemate until mid-way through the first half however Arsenal dominated possession which lead to the break-through after 20 minutes, followed by two more before half-time.
The Reds came out second half with much more positive attacking play but were however caught on the break by a ruthless Arsenal team just a few minutes into the last 45. Not disheartened by the score line, United continued to throw everything but the kitchen sink at their opposition as they were twice denied by the woodwork, before Rathburn’s stunning free-kick looped over the keeper to pull one back for United. However it wasn’t to be with the final result ending in a 5-1 loss for the spirited Reds after Arsenal added another late into the game.
United’s goalkeeper Ramsey, put on a fine display with some fantastic saves throughout the game including two double saves, proving that she deserves her place at this weekend’s U15 England tournament in Italy.
Reds’ Captain, Fletcher, was disappointed with result but beamed with pride at the passion of her team-mates: “I’m feeling a bit gutted for the girls but Arsenal were a brilliant side and we have got to give them respect for that. First half let us down but that second half performance, I couldn’t fault the girls.”
She added, “To come second in the country in this competition is an amazing achievement, and despite the fact we didn’t win it’s a great feeling to come this far. It’s been a really good experience and hopefully there are many more to come.”
Head Coach Tom Fitton, echoed Fletcher and said, “I spoke to the team after the game about the journey they have been on this year and the highs and lows we been through. This group of girls have gone down in history now for being the first team to get to the final now, we haven’t won it but they’ve done themselves proud in every performance and result up to this point.”