It was a long-time coming but the big news of the midweek round of fixtures was Yeovil’s first point of the season, the reward of keeping Birmingham out for 90 minutes, elsewhere Liverpool and Chelsea both picked up wins away to recently promoted Bristol and Everton. Doing their bit to keep their bid for Champions League football next season, Arsenal saw off reading as Man City picked up three points at home to Sunderland.
A handful of days later, Yeovil repeated a similar feat as they held Arsenal before Bristol overcame Sunderland, Reading eased pasted Everton and the Gunners picked up another win in a midweek against Liverpool.
Yeovil Town 0-4 Reading
Remi Allen continued her goal scoring exploits as the Royals picked up their six win of the season, marking the seventh time Yeovil have conceded four or more this term. Two headers in three minutes saw Reading take a commanding lead away from home, Rachel Furness’ gambit early in the second half put the match to bed before Rachel Rowe added a late fourth.
Without a win in three league outings, the Citizens picked up a useful three points at home to a stubborn Sunderland side. The parity broken early when Georgia Stanway found the back of the net via the far upright though the hosts had a long wait for a cushion in the match. Second half improvements from the Lady Black Cats left for some nervous moments with the hosts wasting their best chances until Stanway found a late second, a curling strike that confirmed the points. Down to ten after Steph Houghton had been forced off with an injury, City added a third deep into stoppage time when Nadia Nadim netted her second WSL goal from close range after being set-up by Claire Emslie.
Needing a late winner last time out against the same opposition, Chelsea found Everton as stubborn as ever, Magda Eriksson’s first half header enough to separate the pair at the whistle. Opening the scoring early, Eriksson’s header slipped past Levell as it cannoned in off of the bar from a Ramona Bachmann free kick. Without much flow, the first half was brought to a standstill half way through when Georgia Brougham was forced off injured, the second seeing a handful of good chances for the hosts. Built on a strong defence, Chelsea did well to keep a clean sheet away from home, the backline tested by Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah before Courtney Sweetman-Kirk wasted a fine chance. The best chance for the hosts came late in the day when Angharad James left the bar quaking with a vicious lob from range, though the ball ricocheted to safety.
Arsenal 3-1 Reading
Having dropped points last time out, the Gunners looked to hit the ground running at home, not to be left frustrated in front of goals again. Already having worked the visiting defence overtime, the hosts took the lead eight minutes in when Kim Little set a peach of a curler around Mary Earps.
In-form Dominque Janssen added a second before the half hour, quick to seize on a poor parry from Earps to head home from centimetres out, the ball adjudged to have crossed before Allen nodded it back out. Having proven to be serious contenders this year, upsetting teams at the top of the table the Royals responded well, Fara Williams’ effort at a corner slashing the deficit in half not long after the break. Though it was for naught as Dutch internationals Daniëlle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema combined to skip through the visiting defence, van de Donk given plenty of time and space to get her shot off.
Looking considerably blunted against top half opposition, the Reds sparked to life against a struggling Bristol side though without anything to show for their dominance at the break. The visitors owed a lot to Siobhan Chamberlain after the ‘keeper made a sterling save to deny Millie Farrow with the two sides deadlocked. The save a pivotal moment as the Reds took the lead soon after at a scrappy corner that worked its way out to Beth England, the attacker’s half volley arrowing into the top corner from just outside the box.
On the front foot after their goal, Sophie Baggaley worked overtime to deny the visitors at every turn until Alex Greenwood doubled the advantage late in the day from 12 yards.
Yeovil Town 0-0 Birmingham City
At the thirteenth time of asking, Yeovil found their first point of the season, a rich reward for holding the Blues off for 90 minutes at the Viridor Stadium. Stretched throughout, the match followed a familiar pattern of sitting and being asked to defend for the majority for the Lady Glovers. Their first clean sheet of the season enough for their first point though their first goal still waits.
Yeovil Town 0-0 Arsenal
Facing another barrage, the Lady Glovers dug in expertly, Megan Walsh coming up trumps again. Working overtime against an Arsenal side chasing the top two, the visitors attacked from all angles, Louise Quinn’s early header that required a smart stop from the ‘keeper a taste of things to come. Resilient throughout, the deserved point does little to improve Yeovil’s standing in the table but potentially puts the Champions League back out of reach for the Gunners.
Sunderland 1-2 Bristol City
With both sides having looked rather goal-shy in recent weeks both would have seen their bottom-half of the table clash as the perfect opportunity to find the back of the net and reassert themselves. The win a reverse of the scores the last time the two sparred in Bristol and enough to put an end to the Vixens’ run of seven losses, though sees Sunderland now without a league win in their last five.
Determination from Farrow saw her leave Hayley Sharp in knots as she outwitted the defender before popping the ball over Rachael Laws’ outstretched arm. The advantage doubled by Lauren Hemp from close range, the teenager putting the ball away at the second time of asking after Laws had gotten down well to save her initial penalty.
Tireless throughout, Abbey Joice set up Lucy Staniforth early in the second half for the skipper to pull one back for the hosts. Still hunting for an equaliser, the Lady Black Cats came up short once more as the Vixens held on to claim all three points.
Reading 3-0 Everton
Bouncing back well after their loss to Arsenal, the Royals dominated against Everton, their breakthrough having to wait until after the break however. Allen’s toe poke enough to prod the ball home after Kirsty Pearce’s point-blank header had caused Kirstie Levell to parry the ball down to the midfielder. A solid run from Lauren Bruton fifteen minutes from time brought about the second as she nipped past Faye Byson, left Levell on the deck and finished low. Involved in the first, captain Pearce closed out the scoring late in the day, acrobatically volleying the ball home a yard out after Furness had recycled the ball back in at a corner. Still looking for another, Levell redeemed herself with a fine triple-stop at the death, the loss leaving Everton tied on points with Bristol, a considerable difference in goal difference separating the pair.
Arsenal 3-0 Liverpool
Netting three for the second time in four days, Arsenal got their title charge back underway at home to Liverpool, claiming a rare home win over the Reds. Frustrated and scoreless at the break, Liverpool were again indebted to Chamberlain, the former Gunner pulling off a string of saves to keep the hosts out. The match wore on until Katie McCabe scored her first for Arsenal, digging the ball out perfectly from the edge of the area to chip Chamberlain. The second came soon after when Jordan Nobbs notched her 50th for the Gunners with a well anticipated back-post volley.
The gloss put on by the captain late in the day as the two sides scrapped in the box at a corner, Nobbs claiming the goal as it curled straight in at the near post, a last touch coming off of the ‘keeper. The win puts Arsenal back in contention for the top two though their current goal difference will require another handful of 3-0 wins, this season still one to be forgotten for Liverpool.