Sunday 7 April 2002

Fulham 7 Birmingham City 1

Images: Javier Garcia

Fulham completed the second part of their triple trophy quest with a comprehensive victory over Birmingham City in the Women's Premier League Cup final.

Four days after clinching the Southern Division title, and four weeks before their FA Cup final meeting with Doncaster Belles, the country's only professional side proved far to strong for the young Midlands team.

Midfielders Katie Chapman and Margunn Haugenes each scored twice and striker Marianne Pettersen hit the net once to take her season's tally to 77.

Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed was in a crowd of 1,512 to watch the game.

Fulham manager Gaute Haugenes said: "It's the first major trophy in the club's history, so it's a big thing for us to win it.

"Al Fayed was very pleased, especially as we keep chasing goals when we are well in front.

"Birmingham gave us a good game for 25 to 30 minutes, but in the second half we performed very well and might have won by a wider margin.

"It will be tougher against Doncaster Belles in the FA Cup final, because they are more experienced than Birmingham and physically stronger, but we aim to finish the season by winning that match too."

Birmingham boss Marcus Bignot, who plays in midfield for QPR, said: "We competed well and I was proud of the girls, but we never stood a chance.

"As long we have a professional outfit in an amateur league it's going to be a non-spectacle.

"The sooner we can get six or seven other clubs going pro, the better it will be for the women's game in this country."

A big score looked on the cards from the third minute, when midfielder Chapman headed the Cottagers into the lead.

Birmingham goalkeeper Melanie Ramsdale made good stops from winger Rachel Yankey and Pettersen before Yankey and Rachel McArthur missed simple chances.

But the 17-year-old keeper was beaten again when Haugenes scored from close range two minutes before the interval.

Haugenes headed her second in the 62nd minute, but four minutes later Birmingham grabbed a consolation goal when midfielder Jodie McGuckin drove in a Katy Ward cross.

Within 60 seconds, however, the Cottagers regained their three-goal advantage as Blues captain Laura Bassett headed a Yankey cross into her own net.

Substitute Deena Rahman lobbed in the fifth goal in the 81st minute, then Pettersen drove home Haugenes' 86th cross before Chapman headed the final goal a minute from time.