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Thursday, 6 June 2013

F.A Women's Super League - Arsenal Ladies 2-1 Chelsea Ladies

Arsenal Ladies tonight moved up to 4th place in the Super League table with an assured 2-1 victory over Chelsea Ladies at Borehamwood, overcoming the loss of their captain to injury in the process.  Goals from Gilly Flaherty and Alex Scott had put Arsenal 2 goals to the good as Eniola Aluko’s 2 half effort proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

I must confess that I haven’t watched a great deal of women’s football over the years but the F.A Cup final and England games  have been a point of interest for a couple of years now. So settling down in front of the TV tonight I can’t lie, I was a little curious about what I might find. But im pleased to report that although at times it was not always the most riveting of contests there was more than enough to hold a football fans attention.
The opening 10 minutes were a scrappy affair as neither team was able to hold on to the ball for any length of time. But I should probably point out that some of this was down to the quality of the pitch, as it was clear to anyone with eyes that the grass was far too long, which meant the ball got stuck under the players feet on numerous occasions. However and it wasn’t long before Arsenal got into their stride with their passing and movement putting them firmly in control of the game. This control though did come at a price as Captain Steph Houghton was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury as a worried England boss Hope Powell looked on from the stands.

Arsenal soon got a reward for their dominance when Flaherty rose to meet a Kim Little corner from the left powering a header into the corner of Carly Telford’s net. Jordan Nobbs should have doubled the Gunners lead 10 minutes later when through on goal she shot over from close range. Even so as the game approached half time Arsenal were well in control, but there was still the odd reminder from Chelsea on the break with Aluko squandering a good chance when one on one with the keeper.
The 2nd half began as the 1st had ended with Arsenal firmly in control and pressing for a 2nd goal, with the influential Little shooting over from close range 2 minutes after the restart. Rachel Yankey had flitted in and out of the game but to my eye the most naturally gifted player on the pitch started to really show her quality with some fabulous touches and a shot across the Chelsea goal which brought the best out of Telford. The decisive goal came shortly after as Scott exchanged passes with Nobbs down the right hand side before moving into the area and finishing well past Telford.

But Chelsea were not quite done yet, and in the 64th minute they pulled one back as Aluko capitalised on a mistake from Beattie, to at 1st force a good save from Byrne before putting in the rebound. Fans of the Blues must have hoped that this would spark a revival but their team continued to huff and puff without much to show for it. The game somewhat petered out after the goal with Arsenal occasionally looking threatening in the form of the impressive Davison on the right of midfield.
All in all I don’t think Chelsea will have any complaints, they were just beaten by the better team. There was no faulting their effort and they did have their chances but you did feel that their opponents had a few more gears in them should they have been needed. The Gunners controlled the midfield and kept the ball far better than those in blue while Yankey and Davison looked dangerous out wide.  They will have to keep improving if they are to retain their Super League crown but on this evidence it will take a very good side to deny them come the end of the season.

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