Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal side headed to Walton Hall Park on Wednesday, knowing that three points would keep them in the fierce battle for the Women’s Super League title. Everton linger comfortably in mid-table, and could prove to be a difficult opponent for the Gunners who have to win all of their remaining games – and hope that their fellow title challengers slip up.
EVE: Ramsey; S Holmgaard, Bjorn, K Holmgaard; Veje, Galli, Wheeler, Sorensen; Bennison, Snoeijs, Beever-Jones
ARS: Zinsberger; Rafaelle, Beattie, Wubben-Moy; McCabe, Walti, Maanum, Maritz; Foord, Pelova; Blackstenius
Everton looked to have recovered well from their 7-0 defeat at Kingsmeadow last time out, and were the better side in the early stages – with Emily Ramsey quick off the line to deny Stina Blackstenius in the opening exchanges.
Testament to Everton’s resolute defence, it took the Gunners 17 minutes to muster a shot on goal as Blackstenius looked to find space on the edge of the box. Nathalie Bjorn was able to block her effort though, keeping the game goalless for just a little while longer.
With just less than thirty minutes on the clock, Caitlin Foord found a breakthrough and powered the visitors into the lead. Nathalie Bjorn lost possession on the edge of the box, allowing Noelle Maritz to whip in a cross that Foord tucked home at the far post.
That strike seemed to have opened the floodgates, as Katie McCabe doubled Arsenal’s lead just four minutes later. Emily Ramsey managed to get fingertips to the shot, but you simply don’t save the Irish international’s strike – as she adds yet another long-range goal to her stunning portfolio.
Six minutes before the interval, the Gunners made it three. Katie McCabe’s cross was intended for Stina Blackstenius, but her effort was parried away by Emily Ramsey. Caitlin Foord was positioned well to head home the rebound, bagging her second goal of the evening to put Arsenal in complete control.
Moments before half-time, Lotte Wubben-Moy nodded Arsenal’s fourth goal of the game into the back of the net following a sublime free-kick delivery from Frida Maanum. Despite Everton’s promising start to the game, they’d well and truly fell apart as the half progressed – conceding four goals in thirteen minutes.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Lia Wälti was on the receiving end of a reckless tackle from Aggie Beever-Jones. The Everton forward had lost the ball, and in a desperate bid to win it back, her outstretched leg caught Wälti just above the ankle. The Swiss midfielder was stretchered off, and the initial yellow card given to Beever-Jones was upgraded to a red by the referee.
The Gunners could have made it five as Katie McCabe whipped a cross into the box, but Jen Beattie’s headed effort ricocheted off the crossbar – and the Scot was offside in the buildup anyway. Jodie Taylor looked to find the back of the net soon after, but her shot from a tight angle was saved well by the ‘keeper.
As the game wore on, Arsenal looked for the audacious – with Frida Maanum attempting to chip Emily Ramsey from the halfway line. Her shot sailed just over the crossbar though, as it looked like the Gunners would have to settle for a four-goal win.
Everton clawed one back in the 86th minute though, as Elise Stenevik’s looping curler was nodded into the back of the net by Katja Snoeijs. The Dutch forward managed to get some rather impressive power behind her header – though at this stage in the game, it would be nothing more than a consolation for the Toffees.
Ultimately, the final whistle rang out around Walton Hall Park after ten minutes of stoppage time. The Gunners picked up yet another three points in an impressive performance, but their main concern tonight will be Lia Wälti. Having only just signed a new long-term deal with the club, the last thing they’ll want is for her to be ruled out for a few months.