Fighting for UWCL football next campaign, an eventual comfortable win for Man City over Everton left Arsenal’s rout in Bristol for naught as they fell by two points in the race for second. At the bottom of the table, Sunderland came from behind at home to Yeovil to deny the Glovers a win this season as Birmingham and Reading played a draw and Chelsea pulled off a late turn-around away to Liverpool.
Finishing the season in fine for, Brooke Chaplen gave Reading an early lead after linking well with another in-form Royal, Remi Allen. The lead holding until the half hour when a long ball forward found Ellen White, the league’s top goalscorer bright to take a touch and take the ball around Grace Moloney before rolling home.
Shading the match, the Royals continued to look for a winner as the Blues still looked to be warming into the tie, nothing but placements and pride left to be played for at St Andrews. Fighting for fourth, neither side could find a killer edge in the Midlands and were forced to share the spoils, the visitors claiming fourth two points ahead of the hosts.
Bristol City 1-6 Arsenal
Doing all they could to fight to European football next season, the Gunners took no prisoners in Bristol, taking the lead twenty minutes in through Daniëlle van de Donk at a corner. The lead doubled minutes later when Kim Little converted from 12-yards after Dan Carter had been felled in the box. Adding a third two minutes later, nothing could stop the visitors, Dominque Janssen and Beth Mead both denied before Leah Williamson turned home the third effort.
Finding space outside the box, Mead made it four five minutes before the break, her curled effort pulling away from the goalkeeper as it dipped into the bottom corner. Four soon became five when Katie McCabe fired past Sophie Baggaley just six minutes after coming on in place of an injured Carter.
Finding better form after the break, Bristol pulled one back on the hour, Chloe Arthur’s venomous strike from range sent over Anna Moorhouse to take the gloss off of the win for the Gunners. Any hopes of an unlikely comeback scuppered by van de Donk four minutes later when the Dutch international nodded the home.
A point behind City coming into the tie there was little the London side could do in Bristol to affect the result in Manchester but will at least be happy to have signed off with a flourish, ultimately two points off of the pace. . A seventh place finish for the Vixens a strong enough result for Willie Kirk’s young side, pushed down by Sunderland on goal difference.
Wasting no time, the Reds fast took the lead in Prenton when a poor clearance from Maria Thorisdottir gave Jess Clarke the chance to bounce on Caroline Weir’s low ball in, her shot swept home second into the match. The lead was soon doubled by Niamh Charles, another ball down the left and another poor clearance saw the young attacker teed up in the box, her low finish bouncing under Carly Telford.
Clearly not at the races, the league champions looked to find their feet but continued to struggle with thebasics, finding more cohesion after the break they looked to stretch the hosts but didn’t troubled Siobhan Chamberlain until late in the day. Eni Aluko’s parting gift for the Blues a strike from close range poked over the Chamberlain in her last match for the Reds. The match turned on its head by the visitors when second half substitute Ji So Yun fired two past Chamberlain in three minutes, finding the right corner before curling a peach right around the ‘keeper. The comeback enough to ensure that the champions rounded out the season unbeaten, six points clear at the top with the Reds left in sixth after a substandard season.
After a flurry of Everton pressure, the hosts took the lead in superb fashion through Jill Scott, her rising shot from just outside the area enough to get the better of Kirstie Levell. The goal settled the hosts and they began to pepper the away goal, gilt-edged chances not taken time and again as the visitors defended where the could and rode their luck for the rest of the first half.
Still asking all the questions after the break, the hosts finally had a cushion in the match, Mel Lawley’s whipped cross knocked down by Georgia Stanway for Nikita Parris to volley home. The match sealed moments later when Scott pounced on a weak back pass from Marthe Munsterman, sliding through the box the midfielder reached the loose ball before Levell, connecting to send the ball through the ‘keepers legs. In complete control against the league newcomers, the Citizens continued to hunt for another, three their lot on a day with an abundance of chances, a second-place finish and European football a hansom reward after a choppy season with their visitors dropping to ninth.
Scoring just their second of the season, the Lady Glovers took the lead on their longest away day looking to end the season with their first win, good pressure from the visitors opening up the chance for Annie Heatherson to slot home. Scrapping at the wrong end of the table, Sunderland turned the match around after the break, good work from Mollie Lambert enough to tee Kiera Ramshaw up, her strong header too much for Megan Walsh. Just another five minutes later the hosts took the lead Bridget Galloway’s volley enough to nudge Sunderland into the lead with half an hour still left to play.
The two goals enough for the Lady Black Cats to spring up the table and finish in seventh, with their fifth win of the season, Yeovil condemned to finish dead last without a win.