Ramona Bachmann scored twice and Fran Kirby netted a fine individual effort as Chelsea Ladies beat Arsenal Women 3-1 to win the FA Cup final at Wembley in London.
Switzerland international Bachmann broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half with a neat finish after being set up by Kirby.
Bachmann soon curled home a second, via a slight deflection, before Arsenal pulled a goal back through Vivianne Miedema in the 74th minute.
England forward Kirby, though, ended any hopes of a recovery when she swiftly netted a third Chelsea goal as the Blues gained revenge for their 2016 final defeat in front of a record crowd of 45,423.
Emma Hayes’ side could yet go on to claim the Double as they look to edge ahead of rivals Manchester City, whom they beat in the FA Cup semi-final, over the closing weeks of the Women’s Super League.
Arsenal had won the FA Cup a record 14 times, having only ever lost one final.
Joe Montemurro’s team had made a positive start, but were in the end second best to the Blues.
It was Chelsea who created the first real opening in the 10th minute.
Ji So-yun picked out Bachmann, who turned into the right side of the penalty area, but then dragged her low shot wide of the far post.
England forward Kirby – voted the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year by her peers and also won the inaugural Women’s Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers’ Association – slowly grew into the game.
Chelsea continued to look to release their diminutive striker as the half-hour approached, but Kirby’s shot went straight at Arsenal keeper Sari van Veenendaal.
The Blues almost broke the deadlock late in the first half when Ji’s rising shot from 20-yards went just over.
It was, though, 1-0 to Chelsea just three minutes after the restart.
Kirby played in Bachmann, who did not waste the opportunity this time, smashing the ball past van Veenendaal.
Bachmann added a second on the hour mark, cutting in from the right side of the penalty area and past a couple of red shirts before clipping the ball towards the top corner, which took a deflection as it looped up over the beaten Arsenal keeper.
FT: It just wasn’t to be…
The @SSEWomensFACup final ends 3-1 to Chelsea at Wembley stadium pic.twitter.com/6rV5aVEbT5— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) May 5, 2018
Arsenal, though, set up a tense final 15 minutes.
Beth Mead did well down the left, and her cutback found Miedema, who stabbed the ball in from eight yards out.
Chelsea, however, restored their two-goal advantage within three minutes.
Kirby was again the danger, cutting in from the right before curling a sublime left-foot effort into the far corner.
Erin Cuthbert drilled her shot narrowly wide and substitute Eni Aluko saw a late effort saved as Chelsea continued their dominance through to the final whistle.
- Press Association