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Vic Akers admitted after the F.A.Women's Cup Final that it was just sinking in that he would no longer be in charge during an Arsenal match.
After 22 years as manager, the match would be his last as he will be unavailable for the title showdown against Everton due to his first duty as kit manager to Arsene Wenger's side, who will also be in action.
"It's a sad situation and it's only just starting to kick in now," he said. "That's the last time I will be in the dugout, but life goes on."
Vic also admitted that Arsenal had not been at their best in the game. "We didn't play well, especially in the second half, but we were worthy winners," he said. "We never got our real game going. Our experience played a great part - Sunderland are a very good, up and coming side and are not used to this kind of atmosphere."
Vic also reflected on what has been a difficult season and losing so many key players in a short space of time. "This has been my hardest year in managing the team," he admitted. "We have lost Kelly Smith, Karen Carney, Alex Scott, Lianne Sanderson, Anita Asante plus Julie Fleeting to pregnancy - you don't lose players that we have and not miss them.
"Faye White and Yvonne Tracy have not played for the last six months either but the players have been great and Katie Chapman is the kind of player who personifies that."
Katie Chapman was the Gunners' best player on the day and scored her side's opening goal and she paid tribute to her team mates, as well as her outgoing manager.
"It's been hard but the girls have got together and rebuilt," she said. "We've worked hard and the team spirit has been massive. We've pulled together and done well as a group.
"Vic has made Arsenal what it is - he has brought in great players and been an inspiration to everyone at the club. I'm so glad he brought me here, I've enjoyed every minute of it."
Recalling her goal, Katie was delighted with the gamble she took in following up Gemma Davison's initial shot. "There's always a chance the goalkeeper might spill it and fortunately she did," she smiled.
"Sunderland are a great young side and they made it difficult for us."
Sunderland manager Mick Mulhern could not praise his players highly enough. "I'm very proud of the girls," he said. "We changed our playing style and formation for the game to 4-3-3, a lot of the girls have played that way when with England so I knew they would be comfortable.
"The defence worked hard all match and the girls coped very well overall. We got a chance to play against the best and haven't been disgraced.
"I was a bit worried in the first ten minutes in case Arsenal scored because we could have buckled and, because there was so much noise, it was impossible to get any instructions out, but we were mentally strong."
"It was nice to get on the scoresheet," smiled Sunderland goalscorer Kelly McDougall. "We didn't really show that much as an attacking force but our work rate defensively was fantastic - we worked really hard to close them down.
"We did ourselves justice and have shown that we have got bright young players."
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