Sam Kerr scored a second-half winner as beat in a record-breaking Women’s final at a sold-out .
Emma Hayes’ side soaked up first-half pressure from FA Cup final debutants Manchester United before Kerr scored the decisive goal on 68 minutes.
The Australian pulled out her trademark backflip celebration after putting Chelsea on course for a third successive FA Cup triumph, a feat previously only achieved by Arsenal.
It was the first Wembley sell-out since the game was first played at the national stadium in 2015. Tickets for the showpiece event sold out on May 3.
After Chelsea became five-time FA Cup winners, Kerr said: ‘I think it’s the sign of a great team, we didn’t have our best game but we pushed through. Everyone stuck at it and we got the win.
‘The team did amazing. I’d be wrong to say it was all me. I’m just lucky to be the number nine in this great team.
‘A lot of people have been asking for it [the back flip celebration]. I text my friend and said back flip incoming today.’
On being named Player of the Match, Kerr added: ‘I don’t deserve this. People are way more deserving than me.’
Manchester United have a dismal record against Chelsea – now failing to beat them in ten attempts – but sit one point above the Blues in the Women’s Super League table.
Marc Skinner’s side are evidently closing the gap on Chelsea and dominated the early exchanges at Wembley, scoring what would have been the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup final only to see the flag go up for offside.
It took just 23 seconds for United to kick off and then get the ball in the back of the net through Leah Galton, but she was flagged for offside and VAR – used for the first time in the competition’s history – confirmed the decision.
Manchester United forward Nikita Parris and Chelsea midfielder Maren Mjelde both had tame efforts easily saved, but it was the team playing in their first FA Cup final who began to control the game.
Millie Turner saw a shot deflected and then well saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, before Galton poked over from Alessia Russo’s cross.
Chelsea’s only real chance of the first half came shortly before the break when Lauren James’ looping header was pushed onto the post by England goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Manchester United continued to search for an opener after the interval as Russo tested Berger from distance and Galton saw an effort comfortably saved.
But Chelsea began to grow into the game and Pernille Harder found space following a Kerr pass but could only shoot tamely at Earps.
The breakthrough finally came with 22 minutes remaining as Harder’s pinpoint cross was met at the back-post by Kerr, who finished emphatically to ensure she has scored in the last three FA Cup finals.
Manchester United struggled to maintain pressure on Chelsea after going behind, with Russo scuffing an effort before the Blues survived an injury-time goalmouth scramble.
The full-time whistle sparked jubilant celebrations from Chelsea’s players and supporters, while several United players were in tears as they applauded their fans following a narrow defeat in their first major women’s final.
Manchester United boss Skinner said: ‘We switched off for one moment, there’s space for Sam [Kerr] to run in to which we haven’t given her all game.
‘But I’m proud of the girls today, they are hungry. Their position is what we want to take. We are a young, hungry team. I need to find the pieces to make sure we challenge all the time.
‘Chelsea have done hardly anything in the game, but they are winners for a reason, they find that tiny little gap.
‘I want to thank all the fans, they have been magnificent. We won’t dwell on this, it fuels us. We watch this [Chelsea celebrate], this will be us in future.’
Hayes, who has now won 12 major trophies as Chelsea boss, said: ‘We’ve played here more times that Stamford Bridge. Yes, it’s home.
‘You can’t underestimate the game accumulation, we looked so tired in the first half. We had to kick each other at half time.
‘We know how to stay in a game and even if we weren’t at our best we have to work out how to change it. We had to possess the ball better and then find the quality in the final third.
‘Sam Kerr is priceless but let’s credit Pernille [Harder]. We know we needed more stretching runs. I almost made the change at half time but I held off to see who might be tired.’
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