By Nick Teale
Arsenal Ladies captain Faye White insists the team should still feel proud, despite a 3-2 extra-time defeat to Everton in the FA Women's Cup Final.
The Gunners twice came from behind to take Monday's game to extra-time and had a number of clear-cut chances to win the tie. However, Natasha Dowie caught Arsenal on the counter-attack to net a 119th-minute winner for the Toffees.
It was the first time Arsenal had lost a FA Women's Cup Final, having won all 10 of their previous appearances.
The Ladies have been in transition over the last 18 months having lost key players including Kelly Smith, Alex Scott and Katie Chapman to the professional league in the USA. They have seen two managerial changes in that time as well but remain on course to win the Women's Premier League.
Arsenal can collect that prize on Thursday if they beat Blackburn and Everton fail to take three points from second-placed Leeds Carnegie. And their performance in Sunday's Final was also something to be proud of, according to White.
"We can be proud because we have lost so many players over this season and last season," she said. "That was Everton at their strongest and we still rattled them and gave a good game, so we can only be proud of it, but obviously disappointed.
"We aren't used to losing and it is not a nice feeling.
"I am sure it will spur everyone on knowing that we controlled the game like that. A lot of youngsters have come in and they have learnt what the winning feeling is and we have shown that we can do it consistently, week-in, week-out and that is the important thing."
Kim Little had equalised from the spot after Dowie had put Everton ahead. However the Toffees responded quickly and it was White's own goal that restored their lead within minutes of Arsenal's opener.
Toni Duggan produced a dangerous cross from the left and with Jill Scott lurking in the area the Arsenal captain had to attempt to clear the ball.
"I was just trying to get my head to it," she explained at a post-match press conference.
"I had two players [to mark] at the time. We said at half time [we needed to] sort that out and get into position early.
"You think you're getting something on it to clear it but you turn around and it is in the back of the net. That's obviously not what you want because we had got ourselves back into the game.
"In the first half we weren't very good, couldn't win anything in midfield and went perhaps for the second [balls].
"But we came out in the second half and the character of the girls and the way we turned it around got ourselves back into the game. We looked strong, like the team that would go on and win but we had so many chances."