Two sides in contrasting forms clashed at the People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday in the Barclays Women’s Super League. The home side came into this unbeaten in three of the last five games in all competitions, while Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal arrived in Crawley having won their last five in all competitions.
BCI: Baggaley; Mengwen, Bergsvand, Thorisdottir, Kullberg; Losada, Zigiotti, Carabali; Robinson, Bremer, Terland
ARS: Zinsberger; Maritz, Ilestedt, Wubben-Moy, McCabe; Pelova, Cooney-Cross; Blackstenius, Foord, Russo; Mead
A breezy afternoon in West Sussex saw the Gunners dominate possession early on, with Alessia Russo attempting to find Caitlin Foord down the left hand side, but Guro Bergsvand was able to clear up at the back for the Seagulls.
The early pressure for Arsenal would tell with just 12 minutes gone, as Katie McCabe’s cross in from the left was headed away by Jorelyn Carabali, but it wasn’t cleared far enough, as Stina Blackstenius intercepted the clearance, and at the second time of asking, the Swede fired the ball into the top corner from 12 yards out past Sophie Baggaley.Embed from Getty Images
It was proving a difficult afternoon for Brighton so far, with wave after wave of attack from Jonas Eidevall’s side, as Lotte Wubben-Moy’s header from a corner came very close to making it two for the away side.
However, as rampant as Arsenal were in attack, Brighton were in still in this game, with Vicky Losada and Julia Zigiotti both trying their luck from range, but neither chance came to fruition as both efforts drifted wide of Manuela Zinsberger’s goal.
With two minutes to go before the first half’s end, Brighton almost forced an equaliser through Elisabeth Terland, but the Norwegian’s low strike was kept out brilliantly by Zinsberger to preserve her side’s lead.
The first chance of the second half fell the way of the home side, as Maria Thorisdottir of all people made a brilliant run towards goal before cutting the ball back towards Katie Robinson ready to tap in at the back post, but Manuela Zinsberger again was there to keep the Gunners’ lead intact.
With Brighton looking the better side in the second 45 thus far, Arsenal knew another goal would make things more comfortable. However, Victoria Pelova’s strike from range just before the hour mark failed to find the far corner. Lotte Wubben-Moy’s long ball forward then found Stina Blackstenius down the left hand side, and the Swede whipped the ball in towards Beth Mead, who fired the ball just over the bar – it would’ve been some way to mark her return to the starting lineup had it come to fruition!
Pelova then turned provider 10 minutes from time as her cross in from the right hand side looked for Alessia Russo in the box, but the England international’s run into the box was late and missed a chance for a tap-in at the back post.
Brighton’s resilience, however, was finally broken just moments later as Jonas Eidevall’s side killed the game. Caitlin Foord, who had been impressive all afternoon for the Gunners, picked the ball up in the central area of the pitch and drove forward. The Australian then looked up, picked her spot and found the back of the net from 20 yards out to seal Arsenal’s sixth win in a row in all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
Jonas Eidevall’s side put the cherry on the cake in the 95th minute as Alessia Russo’s low cross in found substitute Cole Lacasse at the back post, but the Canadian cut the ball back to fellow substitute Frida Maanum, who took a touch and curled the ball home past Baggaley.
Both sides turn their attentions to the Women’s League Cup next time out, with Melissa Phillips’ side taking on West Ham on Wednesday evening at 7pm, and Arsenal making the trip to St. Marys to face Southampton the following night at 6:30pm.