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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 19:20 UK

Everton upset Arsenal to win FA Women's Cup

By Tony Leighton

Everton celebrate with match-winner Dowie
Dowie proved the match-winner at Nottingham Forest's City Ground

Natasha Dowie scored a dramatic extra-time winner as Everton beat Arsenal 3-2 in a pulsating FA Women's Cup final.

Arsenal were chasing a fifth successive triumph in the competition and twice came from behind to level.

Kim Little's penalty equalised Dowie's opener, then Julie Fleeting brought the Gunners back into it after a Faye White own goal restored the Toffees' lead.

But the second goal from Iain Dowie's niece, a minute from the end of extra-time, gave Everton their second FA Cup.

It handed 10-time winners Arsenal their first ever defeat in a final.

"It's the best feeling I've ever had," said Dowie of her winner. "I just ran and jumped into the crowd - I didn't know if they were our supporters or not!

"My uncle will have been watching on the TV and he'll ring me up and be so proud of me. He's a top man, he works so hard and I'm sure he'll bounce back from his disappointment."

Everton's only previous triumph in the competition came in the 1989 final in which Mo Marley, now manager, was a member of the team that in those days was known as Leasowe Pacific.

Marley said: "In the past we've respected Arsenal too much, but today was all about what we can do - and we got the result we wanted and deserved.

"We've had some disappointing results this season, all of them in high profile games, but today can hopefully be the start of a great future for Everton."

Dowie had put Everton in front for the first time after 16 minutes, firing in a close-range shot after goalkeeper Emma Byrne had parried Fara Williams' 20-yard drive.

Arsenal hit back strongly, but striker Julie Fleeting headed a great chance wide then left winger Rachel Yankey had a cross-shot well saved by keeper Rachel Brown.

The Gunners equalised in the 43rd minute, midfielder Kim Little hitting her 42nd goal of the campaign from the penalty spot after right winger Gemma Davison had been fouled by left back Rachel Unitt.

Two minutes into first half stoppage time, however, the lead was handed back to the Toffees as Arsenal captain Faye White headed a Toni Duggan cross into her own net.

The Gunners levelled for a second time nine minutes after the break, Fleeting scooping home a 10 yard shot from Yankey's low cross.

Humphrey B Bear

Arsenal had the better of the remainder of the second half but forced Brown into only save, an 88th-minute goal line stop from midfielder Jennifer Beattie's header.

And five minutes into extra-time Everton should have regained the lead, right winger Jody Handley finding Dowie free but from eight yards she shot feebly at Byrne.

As extra-time progressed play switched rapidly from end to end and in the 109th minute only a great block by right-back Becky Easton prevented central defender Gill Flaherty from putting Arsenal in front.

A penalty shoot-out was beckoning when Dowie raced on to substitute Brooke Chaplen's pass, dinked the ball over the advancing Byrne to score the winner.

It was her 28th and most important goal of the season, coming on the day when her uncle saw his Hull side relegated from the Premier League.

The Toffees now face the Gunners again on Sunday, this time in the league when a victory for the Londoners could wrap up the title.

And Arsenal's disappointed manager Laura Harvey said: "We had enough chances to have won, but now we have to focus on winning the league - and to do it by beating Everton would be great."

Arsenal (4-2-1-3): Byrne; Fahey, White, Flaherty, Yorston; Grant, Beattie; Little; Davison, Fleeting (Carter 70), Yankey. Substitutes not used: Tracy, Spencer, Lander, Bruton.

Everton (4-2-1-3): Brown; Easton, Westwood, Johnson, Unitt (Whelan 63); Scott, Williams; Hinnigan (Chaplen 77); Handley, Dowie, Duggan (Evans 111). Substitutes not used: Culvin, Hobbs, Chaplen.

Ref: Ms Una Hong (Durham)

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see also
Arsenal close in on women's title
29 Apr 10 |  Women
We need winning attitude - Marley
29 Apr 10 |  Women
Arsenal extend lead with win
25 Apr 10 |  Women
Arsenal edge out Leeds to go top
18 Apr 10 |  Women
Arsenal set up Everton Cup final
04 Apr 10 |  Women
Everton Ladies target cup glory
15 Mar 10 |  Women
Everton must be the best - Marley
11 Feb 10 |  Women

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