Man United earn first Women's FA Cup with dominant Spurs win


Laurens questions why Sir Jim Ratcliffe wasn't at the Women's FA Cup final

Gab & Juls debate why Sir Jim Ratcliffe didn't travel to Wembley to watch Man United win the FA Cup.

Manchester United won the first major trophy in their history after breezing past Tottenham 4-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Ella Toone's stunner from the edge of the box in first-half added time gave United a deserved lead going into the break, before Rachel Williams' header and a Lucía García brace in the second half saw United put their name on the trophy in style.

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The silverware brings shine to what's been an otherwise disappointing season for United, who are fifth in the Women's Super League (WSL) and were knocked out in the qualifying stages of the Women's Champions League.

United's struggles this season had put manager Marc Skinner's job at risk but the nous and maturity in their performance in front of a sold-out Wembley bodes well for his and the club's future.

"Wembley is always special. Last year we spoke as a group and said 'one day that will be ours' and today's the day so I'm buzzing," goalkeeper Mary Earps said.

Spurs will undoubtedly be disappointed by the result but as manager Robert Vilahamn said before the game, the final had arrived ahead of schedule for their project. This was their first-ever cup final and their first time playing at Wembley. A year on from flirting with relegation from the WSL, Spurs reaching the FA Cup final showed how far they have come. Their display in it showed how far they have to go.

Katie Zelem lifts the Women's FA Cup trophy at Wembley.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Playing under a bright sunny sky, both teams made a fiery start to the game. In the 2nd minute, Spurs' Matilda Vinberg cut in from the left and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box which was brimming with ambition but lacking in direction.

Immediately down the other end, Leah Galton played a one-two with Toone before breaking into the box and firing a shot that was expertly blocked by Drew Spence. The ensuing corner found Williams in space, but the forward was unable to keep her header down.

Williams went close from another corner in the 12th minute, with her header going just inches past Rebecca Spencer's far post. United looked ominous from set pieces -- they won four corners in the first half and could have scored from all of them.

García was merely a couple of yards in front of the goal-line when Millie Turner's header from Toone's delivery fell to her. Goal and glory were both in touching distance for García but she was put off by Eveliina Summanen's excellent recovery challenge and headed over.

Spurs were handed another reprieve on the half-hour mark when Turner's goal bound header from a corner was cleared off the line by an attentive Martha Thomas.

For all their set-piece frailties, Vilahamn's side competed well in the first half. Despite it being their first game at Wembley, they played the occasion as well as they played their opponents. But, there was a schism between attitude and application

Jessica Naz and Vinberg's sharp movement posed a threat to United's defense but in the absence of Grace Clinton, who wasn't allowed to play against her parent club, Spurs struggled to consistently switch the ball out wide.

Their brittleness in midfield was exposed by Toone. The England international received the ball at half line and charged towards goal unopposed, before skipping past a sliding Summanen and curling a shot into the top corner. It was a strike worthy of any final.

Spurs' inability to deal with United's set pieces finally caught up to them in the second half, when Williams headed in from a Katie Zelem free-kick in the 54th minute to double Skinner's team's advantage.

This was Spurs goalkeeper's Spencer's 10th FA Cup final but her gaffe that led to García's goal three minutes later belied her experience. Receiving the ball near her goal, Spencer's under hit pass was intercepted by the Spain international who had an empty goal to fire into from a couple of yards out. The final was effectively sealed after an hour.

Beth England hit the crossbar in the 66th minute from a close-range header but it would have proved merely consolidatory had it bothered Earps' net.

García notched up her second of the game in the 74th minute, clinically firing into the top corner from inside the box.

To their credit, Spurs' heads didn't drop but they had no fight left in them. Their efforts--- on the day and across the season -- saw them serenaded by their fans towards the end of the game. Irrespective of how the 90 minutes had gone, Spurs had a lot to be proud of.

The red end of Wembley, which had been at fever pitch throughout the game, were near delirious by full-time as they celebrated a momentous day in United's history.

"We don't like to admit it but it does mask over the issues we've had," goalscorer Williams, 36, told the BBC. "We have had some ups and downs this year. That's for Marc [Skinner] and the backroom staff to be like: 'Right, this is what we have to do in the summer.'

"We are going to have change things next year. We have had some injuries, three or four ACLs, at the start of the season.

"That's football, teams go through transition. You have a good year, you have a dip. Next year we might just come back bigger, better and stronger and, who knows, we might just be lifting the league."

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.