Sam Kerr helps Chelsea edge Aston Villa to reach third consecutive FA Cup final

Sam Kerr's second-half header was the difference as Chelsea saw off Aston Villa with a 1-0 win in Walsall to reach a third successive FA Cup final.

On top from the start, Chelsea looked the more likely to score in the opening 30 minutes at the Bescot Stadium in Walsall. 

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From Magda Eriksson's header to Lauren James' snap shot from range, the pressure was only going one way until the hosts finally settled late in the half and began to have more joy on the right through Kirsty Hanson.

Following on from the first semifinal yesterday when Manchester United started their second-half comeback less than 60 seconds after the break, Chelsea looked to do similar with Jelena Cankovic smashing an effort onto the post within a minute of the restart.

A flurry of chances for Chelsea triggered a string of last-ditch blocks from Villa before the hosts created their best chance of the game but Alisha Lehmann could only fire her effort wide. The chance proved to be the catalyst to change the game however as Chelsea immediately sent the ball up the pitch for Kerr to nod Guro Reiten's cross home at the back post.

With both teams battling for dominance, it was Villa who carved out the better chances in the latter stages but there was always a Chelsea player to block or tackle and deny the hosts.

Having the rare distinction of winning the FA Cup twice last season -- owing to the rescheduled 2020-21 final taking place half a year late -- Chelsea battled to get over the line and fight to retain their title when they face with Manchester United at Wembley on May 14..