Arsenal Ladies were held at home to a resilient Birmingham City Ladies side. The away team made the afternoon difficult for the Gunners, who had their creative forced stifled throughout the match, as chances remained few and far between.
An impressive performance for David Parker’s side might have proven to be more fruitful for the Blues had Sari Van Veenendaal not tipped Remi Allen’s shot onto the crossbar. Dominique Janssen was just as unlucky in the second half as her free-kick struck the woodwork.
The point sees Arsenal lose further ground in a title challenge that appears to be fading fast while Birmingham move up to one point behind Liverpool Ladies in Women’s Super League One.
Few changes made for WSL encounter
Arsenal Ladies manager Pedro Martinez Losa made just one change to the side that dispatched of newly promoted Reading Women four days earlier. Josephine Henning retained her place following her debut in midweek while Danielle Van de Donk replaced Jordan Nobbs in the starting XI.
David Parker, meanwhile, also made a change to his team selection as the 32-year-old opted for Abbeyleigh Stringer in place of forward Charlie Wellings.
Birmingham frustrating and creating in first-half
With Arsenal already playing catch up in Women’s Super League One having suffered defeats to title rivals Manchester City Women and Chelsea Ladies, the hosts were looking to record back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
Birmingham made it difficult in the opening exchanges though with the back five frustrating the opposition forwards throughout the first-half while numerous fouls restricted Arsenal despite the referee’s leniency.
In fact, it was the Blues that created the fixture’s first opportunities as England under-19 international Chloe Peplow fortuitously evaded challenges from two defenders but dragged her shot wide of the far post. Freda Ayisi’s quick feet allowed the 21-year-old a sight at goal minutes later before the former Arsenal woman provided a dangerous cross that narrowly missed the onrushing Remi Allen.
Possession was very much in the Hertfordshire outfit’s favour towards the end of the first 45 minutes but the pressure exacted upon the opposition was not telling. It might have been worse for Pedro Martinez Losa’s side just before the interval when the crossbar was rattled by Remi Allen. An excellent break that was spearheaded by Melissa Lawley on the left wing resulted in the youngster crossing for Allen, whose shot was crucially tipped onto the woodwork by Sari Van Veenendaal before a subsequent goalmouth scramble was cleared.
Arsenal denied by the bar with seconds remaining
A low Kerys Harrop cross found Chloe Peplow just after the restart but the 19-year-old failed to display why she was awarded a two-year contract in January. A long, cross-field ball from Leah Williamson found Dan Carter on the right but Sophie Baggaley made herself big to block the shot. A Jo Potter shot from well outside the penalty area was then fired wide.
Martinez Losa, seemingly unhappy with the lack of clear-cut opportunities, went on to make all three of his substitutions in the space of 15 minutes. Fara Williams came on for Danielle Van de Donk, Asisat Oshoala replaced Vicky Losada and Leah Williamson made way for Marta Corredera as Arsenal attempted to gain an advantage.
While the changes seemed to lift the hosts, Birmingham’s defense stood strong. A Katie McCabe cross found the roof of the net but it took a last-minute free-kick to really test the goalkeeper. Dominique Janssen’s curling effort was inches away from gifting her side all three points.
An FA Cup final awaits for Arsenal Ladies but they face Doncaster Belles in their upcoming WSL meeting in 20 days while Birmingham travel to Nottingham for a tough encounter with Notts County Ladies next week.