Arsenal Ladies maintained their unbeaten run in the FA WSL 1 Spring Series with a 1-0 win over Manchester City Women thanks to a spectacular strike from Jordan Nobbs.
Manchester City Women and Arsenal Ladies went head to head in the FAWSL 1 Spring Series. Both sides were unbeaten when the match got underway. In light of the recent Manchester attack, the teams paid their respects by laying flowers in the centre circle and observing a minute’s silence.
Man City were clear favourites with four wins and one draw from their five Spring Series games.
Early on in the game, Nikita Parris chased a loose ball and her determination won a corner for her side. A goalmouth scramble followed with Steph Houghton attempting to head it home. Then Jill Scott tried to back hell the ball into the net but found the post instead. A strong start from Man City was causing problems for Arsenal.
Arsenal’s first clear cut chance of the match came from a Dominique Janssen free kick which was nearly deflected in by the wall. An excellent ball in from Jordan Nobbs found Danielle van de Donk who rounded Man City keeper Marie Hourihan. Luckily Megan Campbell was there to clear the ball off the line, keeping the score level.
Man City’s defence was under attack again after sloppy defending from captain Steph Houghton. Heather O’Reilly pounced on Houghton’s mistake and put Beth Mead through on goal, one-on-one, but she was not clinical enough and her effort was just wide.
After a slight scare from Arsenal, Man City were back on the attack. A one-two between Izzy Christiansen and Toni Duggan ended with Duggan firing over the bar. Lucy Bronze put a brilliant cross into the box but Christiansen just missed it. Man City were agonisingly close to taking the lead.
The score was 0-0 at half-time, a fair reflection of the first half with both sides not being clinical enough with their chances.
Arsenal got the second half underway as both sides looked to break the deadlock. Danielle Carter had a few early chances but her shot and header were saved by Hourihan.
Man City continued to test the Arsenal defence when Parris cut into the box but her shot was just over the bar. Substitute Georgia Stanway whipped in a ball for Scott whose free header was straight at Sari van Veenendaal.
Just like in the first half, both sides were not making the most of their opportunities.
With 75 minutes played, Nobbs scored a sensational goal from a free-kick that Hourihan had no chance of stopping. Finally the deadlock was broken as Arsenal took the lead.
Manchester City Women tried to respond immediately as Scott ran into the area and crossed for Duggan but her shot was easily saved by van Veendenendaal.
The home side continued to push for an equaliser but they were unable to get past a resolute Arsenal defence as they suffered their first defeat of the FA WSL 1 Spring Series and their 31 match unbeaten run came to an end.
Arsenal Ladies are now the only unbeaten side in the FA WSL 1 Spring Series. This win does not change their league position but they are closer to the top three. Liverpool are top with 14 points, Man City and Chelsea are level on 13 points and Arsenal are on 12 points.
Man City will look to get back to winning ways on Wednesday against Sunderland. Arsenal will hope to maintain their unbeaten run when they face Reading, also on Wednesday.
Arsenal Ladies Starting XI: van Veenendaal, Scott, Patten, Wubben-Moy, Janssen, Nobbs, Williamson, Carter (Kelly 89), Van De Donk (Williams 86), O’Reilly, Mead (Taylor 59)
Unused substitutes: Humphrey, Moorhouse, McCabe, Quinn
Manchester City Women Starting XI: Hourihan, Stokes, Campbell (Beattie 73), Houghton, Bronze, Walsh, Christiansen, Scott, Lawley (Stanway 61), Parris, Duggan
Unused substitutes: Asslani, Ross, McManus, Roebuck