DUDLEY'S Emily Westwood may have been there and done it before as a two-time Women’s FA Cup winner, but the 33-year-old was battling with her emotions as she spoke about her side’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City Women at Wembley on Sunday.
The veteran Birmingham City Ladies midfielder, capped 32 times by England and one of the FA’s first fully professional players, was an unused substitute for the showpiece occasion and was visibly distraught as she dissected the game in the Wembley tunnel.
“We weren’t pleased with ourselves coming in at half time,” said Westwood, who lifted the cup with Everton Ladies in 2010 and with Birmingham at Ashton Gate five years ago. “We said at half time that for all the people that have supported us and come down, for all the backroom staff that have worked their backsides off, sent messages of support and everything that they’ve done for us and all the hard work they’ve put in on the pitch, we just wanted to make ourselves proud of the second-half performance.
“It still wasn’t as good as we wanted because we wanted to come back and win. It was disappointing but the squad’s very young – I bring the average age up quite a lot! We’ve come through two difficult rounds to get to the final, against Arsenal and Chelsea, and the performances under Marc [Skinner, Birmingham manager] have come on in leaps and bounds.”
The challenge facing Solihull-based Birmingham in their first Wembley appearance was illustrated by the City goalscorers with Ireland international Megan Campbell swinging in the 18th-minute free-kick for England ace Lucy Bronze to head the northerners in front. A Bronze cross was crashed home by England cap Izzy Christiansen and Campbell’s 32nd-minute cross was headed home by two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd for 3-0.
Although Blues substitute Charlie Wellings pulled one back in the 74th minute, another Lionesses and GB star - Jill Scott - made it 4-1 ten minutes from time, the ball supplied by Toni Duggan, an England regular who started on City’s bench.
Westwood herself has a glittering CV that includes appearances in the 2005 and 2009 UEFA Women’s Championships, a Premier League Cup win with Everton and FA Women’s Super League runner-up finishes with Birmingham, but insisted she is still learning from days like Sunday.
“We’ve got to learn from this, even me at 33,” added Dudley’s England ace, “obviously I didn’t play but there’s lots of emotions.”