West Ham Women did themselves proud but went down 3-0 to Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley.
The Irons were huge underdogs going into the contest but held their own in an excellent first half and were unfortunate not to take the lead when Jane Ross’ header was brilliantly saved by England and City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.
It was a key moment as City, who did not concede a goal in the FA Cup this season, showed their class in the second half and took control of the game.
Keira Walsh broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute before late goals from Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp completed the victory and ensured a final scoreline that did not entirely tell the full picture of the contest.
“It was a game of two halves, wasn’t it? We created the better chances in the first half,” said West Ham boss Matt Beard.
“The first goal changes the game. When you go behind against Manchester City, they’re a very good team, and Man City deserved to win it on their second-half performance.
“But when we walked around at the end, with the fans, and you look at what we’ve created in such a short space of time as a club, this team is only going to get better and our fanbase is only going to grow. It’s been really tough but, to be here, speaks volumes for what we’re trying to do.
“We have a lot of young players who will learn from this and become better players because of it.”
The crowd of 43,264 was just shy of last season’s competition record of 45,423, but was nevertheless still one of the largest for a club-level women’s game in Europe in the modern era.
That figure, of course, would have been significantly higher had the match not started less than an hour after the men’s team had played Southampton in the Premier League.