By Oliver Yew at the Pirelli StadiumArsenal Ladies secured a historic treble by lifting the Continental Cup after a 4-1 win over Birmingham City.Laura Harvey's side added yet another trophy to their Super League and FA Cup haul as goals from Ellen White, Jayne Ludlow and a brace from Rachel Yankey sealed their first win over the Blues this season.
It caps an incredible season for the Gunners who, once again, have proved themselves to be the dominant force in the women's game in England.It was Birmingham, who finished as runners-up to Arsenal in the inaugural WSL campaign, who came flying out of the traps at the home of Burton Albion as top scorer Rachel Williams and former Gunner Karen Carney gave the Arsenal back line plenty to think about.Birmingham thought they had a deserved lead when Emily Westwood pounced on Williams' flick-on and finished neatly past the stranded Emma Byrne, but luckily for the Gunners the striker had strayed offside.Arsenal were under constant pressure but despite the Blues' strong start it was Harvey's side who took the lead against the run of play in the 26th minute.Katie Chapman's deflected shot from the edge of the penalty box cannoned back off the crossbar and Ellen White was the first to react, firing the ball past Hourihan into the corner of the net.Within the blink of an eye Arsenal doubled their advantage.
Danielle Carter found space on the right before firing in a perfect cross for the unmarked captain Ludlow to head home from six yards and give her side a two-goal lead at half-time.
After the break Birmingham still looked threatening going forward and Arsenal knew the game was far from over - after all their opponents have built up a reputation for second-half comebacks in the WSL.Arsenal continued to look for the third goal and Harvey's side did extend their lead as Yankey's deflected free-kick looped beyond the Birmingham keeper and into the net off the crossbar.Birmingham responded by sending on Isobel Christiansen and within seconds of coming on the substitute poked home from close range to hand her side a much-needed lifeline with less than 20 minutes remaining.But the goal proved to be a mere consolation as Yankey sealed the win with a contender for goal of the season, flicking the ball up on the edge of the area and smashing home a volley.The game finished in unsavoury fashion as a scuffle between the two sides ended with Birmingham's Williams earning a second yellow card.
But that did not dampen Arsenal's spirits as they finished the season with a domestic treble and the 36th major honour in the Club's history.
Referee: Sash Ihringova
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