WSL 1 - Week One Round-up: Champions begin season in style

Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all emerged victorious in the first round of the 2016 FA WSL.

WSL 1 - Week One Round-up: Champions begin season in style
Source: FA WSL

As the WSL finally got underway, fans were treated to drama aplenty. The top league in English football returned with a bang.

City steal a win over County

An injury time free kick from Manchester City captain Stephanie Houghton was enough to give the 2015 FA WSL runners-up a win over Notts County. A Jill Scott foul inside the penalty box meant Notts had the chance to go into half time with the lead, but Jess Clarke missed from the spot.

City had several chances to lead when Houghton and Scott and efforts cleared off the line and when Notts goalkeeper Megan Walsh denied Toni Duggan, but held on until Houghton broke the deadlock from thirty yards just moments before the final whistle.

New signings Kosovare Asllani and Jane Ross both started for the Blues, while the recently signed duo of Maja Krantz, Angharad James and Rachel Yankey all made the starting XI for the Lady Pies. Defender Sophie Bradley returned after almost 21 months on the sidelines due to injury.

Arsenal put Royals to the sword

Meanwhile in North London, Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners over a newly promoted Reading side. Ex-Liverpool forward Asisat Oshoala made her debut while Dutch international Danielle Van De Donk had to settle for a place on the bench.

Dominique Janssen put the hosts ahead on the break, her low shot beating Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney. Oshoala, who hit the post in the first half doubled Arsenal after the interval.

Striker Jade Boho Sayo's goal gave Reading a slight hope of salvaging anything, before Danielle Carter's header sealed all three points for Pedro Martinez Losa's side.

Liverpool edge past Birmingham

Elsewhere, a strike from debutant Shanice Van De Sanden was enough for Liverpool to win three points at the expense of Birmingham. A Kirsty Linnett penalty was saved by Liverpool keeper Siobhan Chamberlain after Sophie Ingle handled the ball in the penalty area.

Birmingham were given a second chance when Dutch captain Mandy Van Den Berg was sent off for a foul on Melissa Lawley twenty minutes before time, but youngster Freda Ayisi missed from the spot. Chamberlain saved twice from Linnett in the closing moments, as the Reds held on to begin their campaign with three points.

Duggan was the star against Arsenal. | Source: FA WSL
Duggan was the star against Arsenal. | Source: FA WSL

Chelsea start title defence in style

Doncaster Belles first ever game in the top flight did not go down as they would have wanted, with champions Chelsea winning with a hefty 4-1 scoreline. New signing Karen Carney opened her Chelsea account with a penalty after Rhiannon Roberts fouled Millie Bright inside the penalty box.

A Claire Rafferty own goal levelled the scores but headers from Bethany England and Katie Chapman sent Chelsea into the break with a 3-1 lead. Doncaster's response was impressive, with Samantha Tierney almost pulling a goal back, but Eniola Aluko's fine finish gave Chelsea a winning start in their quest to defend the title.

Reading earn a point against Sunderland

2015 FA WSL top scorer Beth Mead's second half strike and a series of saves from an inspired Rachael Laws was enough to earn Sunderland a point after a free kick from Reading midfielder Lois Roche sent the visitors into the break with the lead.

Fairweather will be hoping for more points in the coming weeks. | Source: FA WSL
Fairweather will be hoping for more points in the coming weeks. | Source: FA WSL

City make it two wins from two against the Gunners

In a crucial game on Monday, Manchester City ran out 2-0 winners against an Arsenal side who had to play almost three quarters of the game with ten players, after defender Jemma Rose was sent off for a tackle on Scottish international Jane Ross.

Sari Van Veenendaal's impressive saves kept Arsenal in the game but a mistake by youngster Leah Williamson, who was subbed on in the first half, enabled Toni Duggan to cross the ball in the path of Ross, who headed home her first goal for the hosts.

Duggan sealed the game for City from the spot after Dominique Janssen was adjudged to have fouled Nikita Parris, as City continued their impressive start to the campaign.

FA WSL 1 matchday 1 results in full

Arsenal Ladies 3-1 Reading Women.

Manchester City Women 1-0 Notts County Ladies.

Liverpool Ladies 1-0 Birmingham City Ladies.

Sunderland Ladies 1-1 Reading Women.

Doncaster Rover Belles 1-4 Chelsea Ladies.

Manchester City Women 2-0 Arsenal Ladies.

Chelsea Ladies P-P Liverpool Ladies - the game has been rearranged for May 8th.