2020 - Manchester City 3-1 Everton (aet)

Sunday 1 November 2020, 2:30pm 
Wembley Stadium
Attendance: Behind closed doorsSponsor: Vitality
Manchester City3-1aetEverton (formerly Leasowe Pacific)
Sam Mewis (40),
Georgia Stanway (111),
Janine Beckie (120+2)
Valérie Gauvin (60)
Line-up (4-3-3): Line-up (4-2-3-1):
26.Ellie Roebuck1.Sandy MacIver
20.Lucy Bronze
6.Steph Houghton (c)
27.Alex Greenwood
3.Demi Stokes
2.Ingrid Moe Wold
20.Megan Finnigan
22.Rikke Sevecke
3.Dan Turner
22.Sam Mewis
24.Keira Walsh
19.Caroline Weir
17.Lucy Graham (c) (sub 90+2)
12.Damaris Egurrola
9.Chloe Kelly (sub 119)
18.Ellen White (sub 63)
21.Rose Lavelle (sub 70)
16.Hayley Raso (sub 76)
8.Isobel Christiansen
14.Nicoline Sorensen
19.Valérie Gauvin (sub 90)
Substitutes: Substitutes:
10.Georgia Stanway (sub 63)10.Simone Magill (sub 90)
11.Janine Beckie (sub 119)15.Molly Pike (sub 90+2)
16.Jessica Park (sub 70)7.Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah (sub 76)
1.Karen Bardsley (GK)13.Abbey-Leigh Stringer
4.Gemma Bonner21.Maéva Clemaron
7.Laura Coombs23.Tinja-Riikka Korpela (GK)
8.Jill Scott26.Grace Clinton
14.Esme Morgan30.Poppy Pattinson
34.Karima Benameur (GK)
Booked: Bronze (16), Stanway (82)Booked: Raso (25)
Manager: Gareth TaylorManager: Willie Kirk
Referee: Rebecca Welch (Durham)
Assistants: Sian Massey-Ellis(Birmingham) & Natalie Aspinall (Lancashire) replaced by reserve official Emily Carney (Lancashire) at start of extra-time
4th Official: Abigail Byrne (Suffolk)

When scanning the list of women’s FA Cup final attendances, future football historians will perhaps momentarily wonder why the 2020 game was played in front of an official crowd of zero. They will then of course remember it was the year of the coronavirus outbreak.

The delayed 2020 Women’s FA Cup final may have ended with the same name on the trophy as in 2019 but aside from that the two finals could hardly have been more different. An empty national stadium on the first day of November felt a world away from the sunny early May day of the previous year. 

Goals from substitutes Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie in the final nine minutes of extra-time ultimately decided the contest as City beat Everton 3-1 to follow Southampton Women, Doncaster Belles, Arsenal and Fulham as the fifth club to retain the trophy.

Stanway’s goal was set up by a delightful through ball from fellow sub Jess Park. Just 11 days after her 19th birthday, Park – who had signed her first professional contract with City back in April – cut in from the right and slipped the ball into the box. Stanway timed her run to perfection and hit a crisp low shot from a tight angle below the advancing Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and in off the inside of the near post. In the process the England forward became the first player to score in consecutive finals since Kim Little and Julie Fleeting both did so for Arsenal in 2010 and 2011.

Two minutes into added time at the end of extra-time Stanway turned provider with a strong run down the middle of the pitch and a pass to Canada international forward Janine Beckie who, on her 50th City appearance, took a touch to compose herself and then rolled a shot home off the inside of her right boot.

City had initially taken the lead five minutes before half-time when midfielder Sam Mewis – a World Cup winner with the USA in 2019 – crashed in a towering header from fellow summer signing Alex Greenwood’s right-wing corner. 

Among the new players brought to the club by manager Willie Kirk in the summer of 2020 was Valérie Gauvin. It was the France international forward who drew Everton level on the hour mark with a near post header from Izzy Christiansen’s left-wing corner.

City’s late goals won the day but the game may have panned out differently if England right-back Lucy Bronze had received a red card instead of a yellow card for a late challenge on Hayley Raso just a quarter of an hour in.

For Steph Houghton it was a fifth FA Cup triumph and fourth as captain. The Lionesses skipper won the trophy twice with Arsenal, in 2011 and – wearing the armband – in 2013. Now she had lifted the trophy three times for City. With the stands at Wembley empty there was no need this year to climb the famous steps as she had done in 2017 and 2019. Instead Houghton collected the Cup from a pitch side plinth before raising it in front of her team-mates to spark joyous celebrations which finally ended this strangest of 2019-20 seasons.