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Arsenal 5 (Ward og 2, Fleeting 32, Yankey 34, Smith pen 72, Sanderson 76)
Leeds Utd 0
att: 13,452; at The Den, Millwall F.C.
Arsenal turned on an outstanding and powerful display to win the F.A.Women's Cup for the seventh time in front of the second highest attendance at a Final.
The Gunners were in unstoppable form against a gallant but outclassed Leeds side and recorded the biggest Cup Final win since Southampton defeated QPR 8-2 in 1978.
Lianne Sanderson and Rachel Yankey were in irresistible form for the Gunners, who dominated the match from start to finish against a Leeds side which never gave up under pressure with Jess Clarke and Nicole Emmanuel both having good games. It was a sad farewell for England's record goalscorer Karen Walker who fought a losing battle up front for Leeds and left the field to a standing ovation near the end in her last major match before retirement.
Arsenal got off to the start they wanted, going straight on the attack to try and capitalise on any early Leeds nerves. A sliced clearance from Lucy Ward led to a corner after two minutes of play and Rachel Yankey's inswinging kick was headed into her own net by Ward under pressure from Julie Fleeting.
Arsenal continued to look a pace faster and it took a superb save from Gemma Fay to foil Yankey after she had cut inside on a dangerous run.
Fleeting should have doubled Arsenal's lead in the nineteenth minute when picked out by an accurate Jayne Ludlow cross but she sent her free header over the bar. The Scottish striker was given another chance a minute later as she latched onto Yankey's pass but Ward recovered well to make a last ditch challenge. From the resulting corner, Leanne Champ headed over at the far post.
Arsenal continued to look sharp in attack and they added their second just after the half hour. Lianne Sanderson made a perfectly timed run down the right and slid the ball across for Fleeting to tuck the ball past Fay.
Two minutes later, the game was effectively over after Arsenal were awarded a free kick on the right, 30 yards from goal. Yankey curled a sublime dipping shot over the reach of Fay and into the far top corner to put Arsenal three ahead.
Leeds responded with Karen Burke firing a shot just wide but Arsenal were soon back on the attack with Fay making a vital smothering save to deny Fleeting a second goal.
Sanderson sidefooted a shot just past the post at the start of the second half, following some good work on the right by Ludlow. Fay held an attempted lob from Fleeting at full stretch and the Scottish striker missed a glorious chance from close range after a terrific run down the left by Yankey.
Kelly Smith struck the post after a superb passing move and the rampant Yankey was again denied by Fay as Arsenal threatened further goals.
Fay again denied Fleeting a further goal from point blank range after Sanderson's free kick had been deflected in her path but Arsenal's pressure eventually told as Yankey was brought down by Jess Clarke in the area and Smith tucked home the resulting penalty.
Leeds tried to rally, with Clarke their most impressive player on the day, and won a rare corner but Arsenal quickly added a fifth, Sanderson charging down Culvin's clearance before racing through to slot the ball past Fay.
Rachel McArthur shot wide and Ciara Grant's 20-yard effort was tipped round the post at full stretch by Fay. A 25-yard drive from Faye White flashed inches wide in injury time as Arsenal finished the game on top and still seeking goals.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Leanne Champ, Jayne Ludlow, Mary Phillip, Faye White, Anita Asante, Kelly Smith, Lianne Sanderson, Julie Fleeting, Rachel Yankey. Subs: Ciara Grant (for Ludlow 72 mins), Rachel McArthur (for Phillip 76 mins), Cori Daniels (for Scott 83 mins), Kirsty Pealling, Gemma Davison.
Leeds Utd: Gemma Fay, Nicole Emmanuel, Alex Culvin, Karen Burke, Mel Cook, Natalie Haigh, Natalie Preston, Sue Smith, Karen Walker, Lucy Ward, Jess Clarke. Subs: Sophie Walton (for Cook 51 mins), Tania Panesar (for Walker 84 mins), Sarah Owen (for Preston 84 mins), Julie Grundy, Sophie Clough.
Photo - Nicole Emmanuel tries to stop Rachel Yankey (James Prickett).
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