In a weekend that saw 21 goals in four matches in WSL 1 there was plenty of action for the fans.
The Blues took an early an unexpected lead at the Hive when Rachel Williams powered a header past Anna Moorhouse inside the first minute, the Gunners defence shaky as Williams looked to improve her goal tally with her new team. Arsenal slowly began to grow into the game after their initial setback, dominating the chances, the hosts finally drew level just before the break when Heather O’Reilly tore into the box and drove a shot low into the far corner, the American lively on the left all half.
The Gunners started the second-half as they’d finished the first, quick to harass defenders in the box, Sophie Baggaley’s goal leading a charmed life as the pinball in the box didn’t result in a goal. The ‘keeper left floored by Danielle van de Donk ten minutes later, the Dutch international rounding her with ease before tucking home. The lead lasted only two minutes however, the Blues right back in the game when Williams headed home for the second time.
Van de Donk cannoned the bar from range before the hosts regained the lead, substation Louise Quinn able to get her head on the ball at a deep free-kick, the Irish international always dangerous in the air. As the game wore on the travelling Blues began to look more and more leggy, Arsenal’s fourth a hammer-blow, Quinn lively to hit home in stoppage time.
The result is more of what people have come to expect of Arsenal, the team rarely losing at the Hive, the result sees the second time in eight days Birmingham have conceded four in the capital.
Despite having the better of it at the Stoke Gifford, Liverpool found themselves coming up short against a resolute Bristol side, the Vixens able to keep the [up till then] free-scoring visitors at bay. The deadlock finally broken nine minutes from time by substitute Katie Zelem before Bristol snatched an equaliser four minutes later through new recruit, Lily Agg. The game not without incident as Alex Greenwood was forced off with what looked to be a serious injury twenty minutes from time, her replacement Kate Longhurst able to accrue two yellow cards in fifteen minutes to leave the Reds ending the game with ten.
The point a confidence boosting one for the Vixens, Liverpool seeing their chances of Spring Series glory start to fade after a frustrating day in the south west.
City took the lead just eleven minutes in when Annie Heatherson diverted the ball into her own net as the visitors were caught short a worked free kick routine, the advantage doubled two minutes later by Jill Scott when she chipped the advancing ‘keeper. A rare foray forward saw Lucy Quinn jump on a loose pass from Jennifer Beattie before striking from the edge of the area to cut the deficit in half, however there was to be no shock comeback and Jane Ross reopened the gap just before the break with a flick a yard out.
Ross bagged her second of the game just after the hour when she was first to react to the ball after Steph Houghton had cannoned her header off of the post before Kosovare Asllani made it five with a poached finish from close-range. There was still more drama however when Ellie Roebuck caught Hannah Short late in an attempt to clear a corner and ended up conceding a penalty, the ‘keeper quick to atone by grabbing Sarah Wiltshire’s weak penalty. The game ending in controversial fashion for the hosts when late Carli Lloyd swung an elbow back at Heatherson and was duly sent off in the last knockings of the game, the American international set to miss the next three games for violent conduct.
Sunderland 0-7 Chelsea
Erin Cuthbert got the ball rolling for the Blues just after the quarter hour when she slipped through the defence to pounce on Maren Mjelde’s through ball before firing it between Anke Preuss’ ankles. A poor touch from Victoria Williams gifted Karen Carney a chance to make it took as she took the ball around Abbie Holmes and fired into the top corner, the Sunderland defence carved apart as the goals were rifled-in in quick succession. Ji So-yun’s lay-off to Mjelde set-up the third as the Norwegian tucked home before Ramona Bachmann found the back of the net off of the upright, Cuthbert bagging her second after sending another perfect through ball from Mjelde past Preuss. The hosts done for four goals in fourteen first-half minutes.
With an eye on a big midweek games the Blues began to ease off of the gas after the break, the home defence breached just twice more before the whistle when substitute Fran Kirby exploded back into WSL after a lengthy absence. Carney’s floated ball over the top found the diminutive striker behind before she took the ball around Preuss, leaving the ‘keeper on the deck before rolling into the empty net. Her brace competed six minutes later as she inched her way inside the box before releasing the ball from her feet and finding the far netting, the visitors imperious.