Chelsea Ladies and Notts County Ladies meet in the first-ever FA Women’s Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, with both sides vying to lift their first piece of major silverware in their respected club’s history.
After England’s record breaking heroics at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, Saturday’s grand occasion guarantees to sustain the promising legacy Mark Sampson’s Lionesses stirred up on the international stage after taking home the bronze medal earlier this month.
With both Chelsea and Notts County locked in a four-way fight for the Women’s Super League this season alongside Sunderland and Arsenal, a record crowd of approximately 30,000 people will greet the teams as they step out onto the hallowed Wembley turf – a remarkable feat that demonstrates how far the women’s game has progressed.
Route to the final:
Entering the competition in the fifth round, Chelsea demolished Watford Ladies 6-0 largely thanks to Marija Banusic’s hat-trick before the Blues defeated reigning champions Arsenal 2-1 in the quarter-finals. Ji So-Hun then scored the only goal of the game in the 84th minute of Chelsea’s semi-final tie against Manchester City to send Emma Hayes’ women through to their first FA Cup final since 2012.
Fiona O’Sullivan scored a late brace to help Notts County ease into the last-eight of the FA Cup during their 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur Ladies before Dunia Susi netted twice in their 5-1 thrashing of Aston Villa Ladies in the quarter-finals. Notts County then faced two-time FA Cup finalists Everton in the semi-finals, but that didn’t stop the Lady Magpies reaching their first FA Cup final after goals from Jessica Clarke, Ellen White and Dani Buet sealed an emphatic 3-0 win at Goodison Park.
FA WSL1 – Notts County 1-2 Chelsea – March 29, 2015
FA WSL1 – Notts County 1-0 Chelsea – September 20, 2014
FA WSL1 – Chelsea 0-0 Notts County – May 25, 2014
Chelsea – Ji So-Yun
Regarded as one of the world’s best midfielders, Ji So-Yun is arguably Chelsea’s most gifted footballer after being crowned the PFA Womens’ Players’ Player of the Year and named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year back in April. The South Korean international, 24, has scored five goals in all competitions for Chelsea this season to help the Blues contest for the Women’s Super League title.
Notts County – Jessica Clarke
Notts County Ladies will need forward Jessica Clarke firing on all cylinders if the Lady Magpies are to prevail triumphant from their first-ever FA Cup final. The 26-year-old has been in great form this season, scoring seven goals in 13 appearances in all competitions to help Rick Passmoor’s women line-up fourth in the WSL1. After winning the Premier League Cup with Leeds Carnegie Ladies back in 2010, the former England international will be hoping her cup final experience will pay dividends for Notts at Wembley on Saturday.
Chelsea’s new record signing Fran Kirby is ineligible for selection following her switch from WSL2 outfit Reading Ladies earlier this summer, but other than that manager Emma Hayes has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Meanwhile, Carly Telford is Notts County’s only available goalkeeper as Arsenal Ladies’ loanee Siobhan Chamberlain is forced to sit out.
Telford, 28, played the full 90 minutes on her return from a dislocated shoulder in the 2-1 defeat to the Gunners last weekend, otherwise boss Rick Passmoor has no fresh injury concerns.
Shoot says: Chelsea 1-2 Notts County