Arsenal 1-3 Chelsea
Ramona Bachmann scored twice to help Chelsea Ladies defeat Arsenal 3-1 in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final.
The Swiss star smashed home the opening goal from a tight angle early in the second half and doubled the advantage with a fine solo effort on the hour mark.
Vivianne Miedema halved the deficit from close range before Fran Kirby sealed the victory with a classy third.
This result avenges the Blues’ Final loss to Arsenal in 2016 when Danielle Carter scored the game’s only goal.
It is just the second time Chelsea have won this competition – the first came in 2015 – and it is just the second time Arsenal, record 14-time winners, have lost in the Final.
Having faced each other on the same sun-soaked Wembley pitch two years ago, neither side appeared overawed by the occasion and there was an open feel to proceedings early on.
Player of the match Bachmann treated herself to an early sighter but her angled drive whizzed just past the far post after an impudent turn allowed her to nutmeg Emma Mitchell on the edge of the box.
Joe Montemurro’s side responded with defender Louise Quinn, the Gunners’ semi-final match-winner against Everton, heading Jordan Nobbs’s free-kick over the top before Miedema had a good opportunity deflected behind for a corner.
But back came the Blues. Some good build-up play between Ji So-Yun, Drew Spence and Kirby led to the England forward testing Sari van Veenendaal; the Netherlands international was up to the task.
Ji, who scored the only goal in the 2015 Final, then had two decent chances towards the end of the first half. The first was thwarted by van Veenendaal, the second flew over the bar.
The Final sparked into life after the restart, with Bachmann to the fore.
She picked the ball up deep in the Arsenal half and when Danielle van de Donk’s interception fell kindly for Kirby, the No14 played a simple through ball to her strike partner who did the rest, thundering a shot into the roof of the net.
Gunners captain Kim Little, so often her side’s saviour, tried to engineer an instant response. She burst forward from midfield and found Miedema unmarked on the left-hand side of the box, only for Hannah Blundell to recover in the nick of time to prevent an almost certain equaliser.
Bachmann then doubled Chelsea’s lead with a superb individual effort. Cutting in from the left flank, the No23 sold Mitchell with a dummy which afforded her a yard of space to curl a left-foot shot goalwards. The ball was destined for the corner as soon as it left her boot and a slight touch off Quinn only helped it into the net.
Maren Mjelde came close to adding a third with a close-range header before Miedema temporarily hauled Arsenal back into the game.
Beth Mead found a way past Blundell on the by-line and then cut the ball back to Netherlands’ Euro 2017 hero who tapped home from six yards out.
The reprieve lasted just three minutes as Blundell found Kirby just outside the area and she curled the ball into the far corner with her left foot to put the game to bed.
Substitute Eniola Aluko, on for Bachmann, might have added a fourth but couldn’t beat van Veenendaal at her near post.
But Chelsea had done enough, and Katie Chapman and Mjelde raised the Cup aloft in front of a competition record crowd of over 45,000.
Arsenal (4-1-4-1): 1 Sari van Veenendaal; 18 Lisa Evans, 6 Leah Williamson, 16 Louise Quinn, 3 Emma Mitchell; 20 Dominique Janssen; 8 Jordan Nobbs, 7 Danielle van de Donk, 10 Kim Little (capt), 23 Beth Mead; 11 Vivianne Miedema.
Substitutes: 17 Heather O’Reilly for Janssen 63, 9 Danielle Carter for Evans 85, 15 Katie McCabe for Mitchell 85.
Substitutes not used: 13 Anna Moorhouse, 25 Jessica Samuelsson.
Goals: Miedema 73
Bookings: Janssen 43
Manager: Joe Montemurro
Chelsea (3-4-1-2): 1 Hedvig Lindahl; 4 Millie Bright, 18 Maren Mjelda, 16 Magdalena Eriksson; 3 Hannah Blundell, 10 Ji So-Yun, 17 Katie Chapman (capt), 20 Jonna Andersson; 24 Drew Spence; 23 Ramona Bachmann, 14 Fran Kirby.
Substitutes: 2 Maria Thorisdottir for Andersson 70, 22 Erin Cuthbert for Spence 75, 9 Eniola Aluko for Bachmann 85.
Substitutes not used: 28 Carly Telford, 5 Gilly Flaherty.
Goals: Bachmann 48, 60, Kirby 76
Manager: Emma Hayes
Referee: Lindsey Robinson