Man Utd thrash Spurs to win first Women’s FA Cup

Manchester United won their first Women’s FA Cup trophy in style as they comfortably beat first-time finalists Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

England international Ella Toone scored a stunning goal on the stroke of half-time and Spurs never recovered, with Rachel Williams and Lucia Garcia extending United’s lead after the break.

It was a second successive final appearance for United but they shrugged off last year’s disappointing defeat by Chelsea to pick up a first major women’s trophy.

Having received a personal message before kick-off from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos – who have a minority shareholding in Manchester United – this is a significant piece of silverware that kick-starts a new era for the club.

Marc Skinner’s side played with confidence from the start and imposed their dominance on set-pieces, missing several chances, before Toone eventually produced an unstoppable strike.

Clutching the badge on her shirt and sprinting back to celebrate in front of family watching on in the stands, United academy graduate Toone capped off a fairytale afternoon in London.

Former Spurs forward Williams, 36, played her part and now has her hands on the trophy 12 years after glory with Birmingham City in 2012 – the last time a club outside of the Women’s Super League’s current top three had won the competition before this season.

But it was Garcia’s ruthless double in the second half that put United out of sight and Tottenham, who have shown immense progress in manager Robert Vilahamn’s first season, were always second best.

It was a disappointing display from Spurs, who beat Manchester City and Leicester City en route to the final, but their appearance at Wembley was a statement of intent for their future ambitions.

Victory repays Skinner’s bold selections

Pressure has been building on Skinner with United falling to fifth in the league, having finished runners-up last season.

Inconsistency and a disappointing record against the top sides has led to fan discontent, with supporters calling for his sacking with banners at games throughout the year.

With his contract expiring this summer and no news yet on whether he will extend, this was a final that repaid Skinner’s bold decisions.

Choosing to start Williams ahead of in-form striker Nikita Parris raised eyebrows but she was a constant threat, causing problems for Tottenham on set-pieces, and should have scored before Toone’s opener.

When United eventually did get on the scoresheet, it felt like only a matter of time before they would add to their tally.

Tottenham’s best chance fell to captain Bethany England in the second half when her header crashed off the crossbar, but it was too late – United had already found their groove and made it 4-0 minutes later.

Goalkeeper Becky Spencer was at fault for Garcia’s first as she played it straight to the Spaniard to fire into an empty net. The United forward was then teed up by Lisa Naalsund in the box for her second as Spurs buckled under United’s relentless pressure.

At the end of a rollercoaster campaign, this victory gives fans much-needed joy and for Skinner personally, he has finally left behind the heartache of losing two FA Cup finals previously – with United and Birmingham City.

Vilahamn was a subdued figure at full-time but said this week no matter the result he would be filled with pride, as his side defied the odds and reached their first Wembley showpiece.

Painful result for Spurs but bright future ahead

United’s players sprinted across to celebrate with their fans at full-time, posing for photos while the trophy stage was being set up nearby.

At the other end of the pitch, Vilahamn led his players over to Tottenham’s end to thank their supporters, while Lionesses’ striker England was among those being consoled by staff members.

This was a painful experience for Spurs, after a season filled with so many highs, but their progress had accelerated at a rate which caught many by surprise.

Playing exciting, free-flowing and often risky football under Vilahamn, they have risen up the rankings in the WSL table – a far cry from the relegation battle they found themselves in last season.

And while they were beaten by the better side at Wembley, they will head home to the other side of London having tasted what competition among women’s football’s elite feels like. They have already created history and are hungry for more.

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