WSL and Women’s Championship review: Late drama in the second tier
Credit: B. East Photography

WSL and Women’s Championship review: Late drama in the second tier

Arsenal return to the top of the tree

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Sophie Lawson

It was all change at the top in both the Championship and Super League as Arsenal, Sheffield United and Manchester United won away from home with Lucy Graham’s stunner enough for Bristol City at the Stoke Gifford.

Liverpool 1-5 Arsenal

Zipping through the first of their two games in hand over title-hopefuls Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal shot back to the top of the pack with an impressive win over the Reds. A goal to the good 20 minutes in when Kim Little arrived in the centre of the box to tuck home Katie McCabe’s cross, the Gunners doubled the advantage two minutes later as Beth Mead flew in at the back post to turn Vivianne Miedema’s cross around the post. Two became three 20 minutes into the second half when Mead picked out the far corner with a cross-cum-shot before Dominque Bloodworth added the fourth just two minutes later.

All but done in the tie, the hosts pulled one back when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk fired the ball into the top right corner from the spot after Yana Daniëls were felled in the box. The goal a conciliation on a forgettable afternoon for Liverpool, the final blow from Miedema whose light footwork had the home defence on the floor before she pulled the trigger.  

Bristol City 1-0 Everton

In a traditionally close affair, the Vixens had the advantage over the Blue Girls thanks to Lucy Graham’s seventh goal of the season, the Scot picking out the top right corner from over 25-yards. As both sides got stuck in after the break it was Sophie Baggaley and Kirstie Levell who came up trumps, both producing some noteworthy saves to keep their sides in the tie, Graham’s goal the difference at the whistle.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Sheffield United

Refusing chances throughout the first half, the Blades did well to come back into the tie and claim all three points. A goal down early in the second half when Jess Naz slotted Bianca Baptiste’s pinpoint pass beyond Fran Bentley. The visitors restored parity when Ebony Salmon chased down Bently’s lofted goal-kick the Manchester United loanees managing to combine as the attacker beat the last line of defence and fired the ball beyond Chloe Morgan. The match hanging in the balance, it was the Blades who claimed victory at the death when Jade Pennock clipped Bex Rayner’s looping free kick across the face of goal and into the far corner.

Charlton Athletic 1-2 Manchester United

Showing their dominance once again, the Red Devils hit the ground running in London, starting their away clash with Charlton for the second time this year after the original match was abandoned. On top but with little to show for it at the break, the visitors took the lead just before the hour when Katie Zelem converted United’s ninth penalty of the season. One became two just six minutes later when Jess Sigsworth rose well to hammer a header over Katie Startup at an inswung corner. With it all to do, the Addicks pulled a goal back through Kit Graham, the substitute quick on her toes to skip around outside the box before cutting the ball across and inside of Siobhan Chamberlain’s far post.

The win enough to take United back to the top of the table with a game still in hand on Spurs.

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