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April 2021

Two Cup Finals, two cups, two great days out

Arsenal 2 Everton 0, by Tony Attwood

FA Women’s Cup Final

It had been 14 long days since Arsenal had won a cup final and the murmurs were turning into grumbles and calls for resignation.   But Arsenal did it again, which will keep the AAA happy until… oh, today, because the Telegraph has just launched another attack on Arsenal.

But let’s leave that for a moment, and return to yesterday.

It was, all told, a pleasant afternoon out.  Warm, but not too hot, a chance to find a new stadium (neither of us were 100% sure where it was in the vast acreage that is Milton Keynes), a chance to park near the ground for free (although private carparkeers were charging £10 just down the road – but Ian true to his style found a free place), and a chance to watch Arsenal’s second cup win of the late spring.

StadiumMK (or Stadiummk as it sometimes more confusing written) actually is very impressive.  It currently holds 30,000 but like all modern stadia could go up to 45,000 if a third tier is built.

At one end you’ve got the Cowshed, which is where we sat, and that name gives a poor idea of what this is – a very fine modern stadium, offering excellent views (at least from where we sat, 20 rows back in the lower tier).   There is a wide open concourse all the way around the back of the lower tier which gives a lot of space and a bright open feel.  Only the bar in the Cowshed is depressing, but we just took one pint (Ian downing his in something like 3.7 seconds, a little slow I felt, but still he did have his sons with him and needed to keep an eye on them).  It certainly is one hell of a venue for a third division club.

Inside Arsenal dominated the 15000 present.  A Daventry Goodners flag of enormous proportions covered the seats in one corner.  The supposed “Everton end” was Arsenal, as was our end, which we had dutifully sat in.  There was one little huddle of blue opposite the half way line, but otherwise just a sprinkling here and there.   An entertainer with a guitar who had apparently once won something on TV and was seemingly famous in some quarters of the populace stood on the pitch opposite them and sang them a couple of songs.  They didn’t seem much moved.

Arsenal hit the post no less than four times, Kelly Smith scored a stunner on 15 minutes from a superb free kick from 20 yards out, and Yukari Kinga scored the second on the hour after one of the worst bits of refereeing I have seen in my life by Martin Atkinson.   As Arsenal attacked there was an overt rugby tackle delivered in the box, and Atkinson, standing just yards from the incident waved it away.  Some reports are saying he played the advantage – but his flat hands waved from across his low body is normally the sign of “not a foul” not “play on”.  Arsenal did go on to score from the mawl but really – Atkinson how bent or silly do you have to get?

One nice thing after the match was that the losing manager did not claim his side should have won, complaining that a corner wasn’t a corner, and so forth.  The Everton manager, Andy Spence, said, “The credit has to go to Arsenal. They showed their experience from the point Kelly scored a fantastic free-kick. As a young team it’s important that we learn from this experience so that next time we get to a final we’ll be in a better position to deal with the whole occasion.”

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So that’s 13 Women’s FA Cups for Arsenal, and two in a row.  Now it’s time to get going in the Super League.

But still, two Cup Finals, two wins, two weeks apart.  I rather enjoyed that little sequence.

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17 comments to Two Cup Finals, two cups, two great days out

  • nicky

    Glad to see that winning the Ladies FA Cup doesn’t result in a star over the badge on their shirts.
    Thirteen stars would be a bit OTT to say the least!

  • para

    Well done the ladies, shows that Arsenal is a complete football club.
    Hope you do as well with your new coach/manager, who ever it may be.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Congrats to our ladies.
    Congrats to Arsenal for further cementing the “winning mentality”.

  • Marcus

    Women’s football is way better than Men’s. IMO. So great article Waller.
    Ever noticed how women invariably see the simple pass that leads to a tap-in, Whereas in Men’s football, that pass is generally eschewed as the player gets goalfever. For this reason I prefer Women’s football, because I find the inability of the male to relinquish ego and make the obvious pass pretty irritating.

    On another subject, it feels like Man City are become like Los Angeles Galaxy where old Studs go out to pasture.Meanwhile ambitious players with their future ahead Choose other more dynamic clubs.Aguero say he wants to leave Man City speaks volumes

  • Marcus

    Re the ref ,it is nice to know that the PGMOLFA are even-handed in their “predispositions”
    The FA then are categorically not sexist, at least when it Comes to matters of how they treat Arsenal

  • elkieno

    Great article and very good of you and friends to take a trip to wherever you went, to watch the ladies… After all they are our Arsenal ladies!
    Very successful sides we have had I can see, I wonder if our dominance is about to end now in female game?
    If it does and the Mens side takes off to the stars, then I can deal with that. At least one of our sides to dominate!
    A weird feeling since winning the Cup, no stressing about defending Wenger, Ramsey etc cos we ‘Won The Cup’!
    The telegraph can do and say what they want, ‘Won The Cup’ so ‘fuck them maing, I’ll bury those cockroaches!

  • elkieno

    Marcus, I would bite your hand off for Aguero!
    City have no soul now, just an old club that got rich and chucked out everything, bought everything to look the part…

  • bjtgooner

    Again, well done ladies! They dominated the game and were deserved winners.

    Agree about Atkinson, he appeared to try to ignore the penalty call in the hope of keeping Everton in the game – he and Probert obviously went to the same class of misinstruction!

  • Ian

    The pre match Entertainer was Luke Friend, he featured on last years X Factor (a UK talent show where each week the contestant that has amassed the least public votes leaves) but didn’t win it.

    In short the FA provided a singer that can’t sing and a Ref that can’t Ref. At least its consistent.

  • oldgroover

    I thought Atkinson had a decent game. It’s true there was a penalty incident immediately prior to the second goal, but he correctly allowed advantage when it became obvious Smith was in a strong attacking position and the goal was scored. I may have missed another incident, but don’t think so. The referee has an easier job in women’s matches with no diving, very little foul play or dissent and because of the slower play virtually no wrong offside calls.

  • bjtgooner


    I agree that the ref should have an easier time in ladies football; but regarding the non given penalty I’m with Tony on this one – the ref appeared to wave play on – and at the point of the wrestling match it could not be certain that the Arsenal attack would continue, never mind result in a goal.

  • oldgroover

    God knows what would have happened if we hadn’t have scored though. Amazing how Kelly had the strength to shrug the grappler off & get round her. But I still think it was the right call by Atkinson, although his signal wasn’t exactly conventional.
    Tony and his “one of the worst bits of refereeing I have seen in my life” He does go a bit OTT sometimes doesn’t he? Still, it’s good for the campaign. Keep them coming Tony.
    There was one other possible/maybe when Carter made one of her many surges into the area and stumbled after a strongish challenge. She stayed (women don’t dive) up, but the the co-comentator said something like “might have been a penalty if she’d gone down”

  • menace

    Regarding the referee Atkinson in the Womens FA Cup Final. He was reasonable for part of the game but ignored at least 2 penalty decisions plus the ‘play on’ that ended up as goal number 2. He gave several soft fouls against Arsenal and ignored several against Everton. His assistants were good and consistent.

    The Arsenal No9 was being held and pulled outside the box and the fouling continued into the box. Atkinson ignored all of the fouling. The young forward Ohno was pushed in the box, yet again ignored by the PGMOL cheat. There were several incidents where the officiating fell short of professional. I have no hesitation in condemning the standard and the obvious bias.

  • bjtgooner


    It could be postulated that it was possibly the right call by Atkinson if he was playing advantage and would have blown for a penalty had there been no resultant advantage.

    There are a lot of “ifs” in that line and I would need to be guided by Walter.

    However, I don’t think Atkinson had any intention of calling the foul, he appeared to want to ignore it and it was by good play Arsenal were able to set up a goal.

    I am not fully conversant with the rules re how quickly the ref should blow for a penalty and what latitude there is for playing the advantage, I would need Walter’s guidance on that.

  • oldgroover

    Yes, I completely agree. Well put.

  • John

    I agree that Atkinson appeared to have no intention of calling the foul, as giving a penalty Arsenal is contrary to PGMOL agenda.

    On a separate point, womens football is good because the players generally do not cheat, dive, or indulge in all-in-wrestling when corner kicks are to be taken. Although the game is slower, it is often of a higher technical quality than the men’s game, since the women cannot lump the ball the whole length of the pitch as easily, nor rely on brute force to counter skill, as per Allardyce -Pulis etc football.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why why why….. Why not at Wembley??.