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WSL1 Arsenal v Sunderland Nov 12 2017 – The Untold Match Report

Sorry for the delay in bringing you this report – we had a technical problem yesterday.

by Andrew Crawshaw

Sunday Nov 12 was dry, bright and very cold.  Fortunately for me my journey from South London to Borehamwood was clear of upgrade works giving me a simple journey involving only one change of train.

It is fair to say that so far this season Arsenal Women haan’t hit the heights that we have so often seen in previous years.  This has meant that before kickoff our record was P4, W2, D1, L1 leaving us in fourth place in the league and six points behind both Chelsea and Manchester City (who beat us 5 – 2 earlier in the season).  We have struggled to score goals and have been far too porous at the back.

For Arsenal

Arsenal team

Back row – Danielle van de Donk (74), Louise Quinn, Vivianne Miedema (80), Anna Moorhouse (GK), Dominique Janssen, Jemma Rose

Front Row – Danny Carter, Beth Mead, Heather O’Reilly, 8yr old Rachel Pearce (mascott), Jordan Nobbs © (86), Emma Mitchell

On the Bench

Alex Scott, Leah Williamson (74), Jodie Taylor, Lisa Evans (80), Lauren James (86), Taylor Hinds and GK Lucy Thomas

For Sunderland

Starters – Rachael Laws (GK), Ellie Stewart, Kylla Sjoman, Victoria Williams, Kiera Ramshaw (77), Kasia Lipka, Zaneta Wyne, Hayley Sharp, Dominique Bruinenberg (60), Lucy Stainforth and Bridget Gallaway (74)

Bench – Danielle Brown (77), Abbey Joice (60), Simona Karen (74), Mollie Lambert, Sophie Stonehouse

No score in the first 15 minutes, Arsenal ahead on points but with only one clear cut opportunity Ex Sunderland player Beth Mead with a powerful shot that Laws was able to palm over for a corner.  We are still being let down by some sloppy passing in all areas of the pitch.

15 to 30 minutes saw more concerted pressure from Arsenal most of the play in the Sunderland half.  A shot from Mead was tipped over and a second was straight at Rachel Laws.  Then the best chance so far, a fast break on the right hand side led to a good cross from Heather O’Reilly bur the header from Vivianne Miedema  hit the crossbar.

Good catch by Laws following Arsenal pressure

30 to 45 minutes saw more pressure from Arsenal, a good save by Laws from a Nobbs free kick and header on target by Louise Quinn.  Also a deserved booking  for Williams for a foul on Carter.  Nil nil at halftime and Arsenal still to find their swagger

No changes by either team at halftime.  The pattern for the first 15 minutes of the second half following that of the first – Arsenal pressure, Sunderland with 10 behind the ball and us not able to find a telling final ball.

On the hour mark though that changed.  Another foul by Sjoman led to a second Sunderland yellow card.  Jordan Nobbs delivered an excellent free kick which was met by a powerful header from Louise Quinn and this time Laws could get nowhere near the ball.  This prompted the first substitution, Bruininberg being replaced by Abbey Joice.  Sunderland were then awarded a soft free kick in a similar position to that Arsenal had scored from but our defence was properly switched on and dealt with it well. An Arsenal attach then nearly led to a second goal, the resulting corner was recycled to Miedema  who smashed the ball home from 20 metres – fabulous strike and again Laws had absolutely no chance.

75-90 minutes Arsenal continued to press.  Danielle van de Donk was replaced by Leah Williamson and for Sunderland, Galloway was replaced by Simona Karen.  Another Arsenal free-kick saw Nobbs hit the side netting (she was still getting her range).  For Sunderland Ramshaw was replaced  by Brown.

The next Arsenal free kick was more central and this time Nobbs made absolutely no mistake as the ball flew straight into the top left hand corner leaving Laws rooted to the spot. Three nil to the Arsenal.  This led to a final raft of Arsenal substitutions Miedema and Nobbs being replaced by Evans and James as we looked to run the clock down.

There was nearly a final sting in the tail – Koren was put through by a long ball which beat our defence and she was one on one against Moorhouse who checked her position relative to the goal and made herself as big as possible pulling off a great stop with her left foot to keep her clean sheet.

The match was refereed by Lloyd Wood who I thought had a very good game.  I am among the first to criticise referees when they get things wrong so it is only fair that I should praise them when they do a good job.

At the end of the match a much better result for Arsenal and three very welcome points.  This was coupled with the news that Chelsea had dropped their first points of the season drawing 2 – 2 with Reading although City maintained their 100% record.  The table now reads :-

Pos Team P W D L GD Pts
1 Manchester City 5 5 0 0 14 15
2 Chelsea 5 4 1 0 19 13
3 Arsenal 5 3 1 1 3 10
4 Liverpool 5 3 0 2 2 9
5 Reading 5 2 2 1 7 8
6 Sunderland 5 2 0 3 -10 6
7 Birmingham City 5 1 1 3 -3 4
8 Bristol City 5 1 1 3 -14 4
9 Everton 5 1 0 4 -4 3
10 Yeovil 5 0 0 5 -14 0

Next game for the Women is this Thursday when we complete our Group Stage Matches in the Continental Tyres Cup away at Gaywood Park, Watford, followed by an International break before our next WSL1 game against Liverpool on Sunday 10 December.

After our loss against Reading last time out in this competition this is a must win game.  Watford and Reading both have two games to play, we only have one.  The top two teams in the mini-league progress to the knock-out quarter final stage.  It is also important to remember that a win in 90 minutes counts 3 points, if the teams are level at 90 minutes there is a penalty shoot out with the winning team getting two points and the losing team one.

The current league table is (the points for our table are straightforward so far as all games have been won within 90 minutes)

Pos Team P W D L GD Pts
1 Arsenal 3 2 0 1 9 6
2 Reading 2 2 0 0 5 6
3 Millwall 3 1 0 2 -3 3
4 Watford 2 1 0 1 -3 3
5 London Bees 2 0 0 2 -8 0

I hope that our new Manager Joseph Montemurro will have properly joined us by then to lead us through the next phase of our progression as a team.

COYWG

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