Manchester City boss Nick Cushing praised his players for the professionalism they had shown in the second half after they beat West Ham 3-0 in the Women’s FA Cup final.
City struggled to conjure much in attack in a first half at Wembley that saw underdogs West Ham go close to taking the lead when Jane Ross’ header was well saved by Karen Bardsley.
Keira Walsh then put Cushing’s side ahead in the 52nd minute, and Georgia Stanway and substitute Lauren Hemp subsequently netted efforts late on as City claimed their second trophy of the season, adding to February’s Continental Cup triumph.
“We’re proud that we’ve added the FA Cup to the Conti Cup this season,” said Cushing.
“I thought West Ham were excellent but I expected them to be good, to play on the counter-attack and cause us problems.
“I thought we were just a little bit emotional and that the occasion affected our offensive play.
“So we had some little shifts to do and we asked them to just settle down and play logically and be controlled.
“And second half I thought they looked comfortable and the way that we have won games this season, and we went on and controlled the game.
“In the second half I thought they were excellent, really professional, really controlled. And three goals and a clean sheet – we’re really pleased with that.”
This was City’s second FA Cup triumph and their sixth major trophy. They have bounced back with a cup double this term after going trophyless last season.
While they have fallen short in the Women’s Super League title race, with Arsenal being crowned champions, they can complete the season unbeaten domestically next week, when they face the Gunners away.
Cushing added: “I’m so proud of the players. I hope they will go now and spend so much time with their family.
“They’ve put so much effort, dedication and commitment in this year to making this team successful again that they deserve everything they get.”
Cushing said to go the whole season without a loss domestically would be “a huge achievement”, but added: “The flip side is we should have won the league. We feel Arsenal deserve the league, but we don’t feel they were better than us.
“We have to look at the logical reasoning and go ‘how do we make sure we don’t draw games next year’ (they have drawn five WSL matches this season), while retaining all the good things we had this year.”
Walsh’s goal was a strike from almost 30 yards out that it appeared goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse should have done better with, Stanway shot low into the bottom corner, and Hemp guided the ball past the outrushing Moorhouse in cool fashion.
It was a fine achievement for West Ham to have reached the final – the first time they have done so – with them having only become a professional outfit last summer.
Hammers boss Matt Beard said: “It was a game of two halves, wasn’t it? I thought first half we did well.
“The first goal changes the game. The first and the third goal, could we have done better? Probably, yes. But Anna Moorhouse for me has been fantastic this year. You have to take the chances when we have them. I think ultimately today that’s what it boiled down to.
“City deserved to win. But when you look at what we’ve created in such a short space of time as a club, I’m so proud of everyone that’s been connected with it.”
The attendance was 43,264, just below last season’s record figure of 45,423.
West Ham had wanted the kick-off of their Premier League home clash with Southampton moved from 3pm to 12.30pm to give fans a chance to travel from that game to the final, but the League decided the change would not be possible.