By Andrew Crawshaw
A dry afternoon at Borehamwood and fortunately temperatures significantly higher than the previous week when snow caused the match to be postponed.
The Arsenal team was
Alex Scott, Leah Williamson, Louise Quinn, Katy McCabe
Danielle Van de Donk, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs
Heather O’Reilly, Danielle Carter, Beth Mead
Subs, Sari Van Veenendaal (GK), Lisa Evans, Vivienne Miedema, Dominique Janssen and Emma Mitchell
Katie Startup (GK), Chloe Brunton-Wilde, Olivia Lukasewich, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Charlotte Gurr, Hannah Churchill, Sam Pittuck, Nicole Pepper, Kit Graham and Hope Nash
Subs, Charlotte Lee (min 76 for Nicole Pepper), Georgia Griffin (min 69 for Kit Graham) Kim Dixson (min 84 for Hope Nash
Charlton kicked off and seemed to immediately retreat into their final third, it took almost 20 minutes before a Charlton player touched the ball in a meaningful way in the Arsenal half.
With four minutes on the clock Beth Mead worked her way into the Charlton penalty area from the left wing and was upended by Olivia Lukasewich. The referee Josh Smith (who was excellent all game) had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, a decision which not even the Charlton supporters behind me could argue with. Kim Little stepped up and put an excellent kick into the bottom corner giving Katie Startup no chance despite her diving the right way.
Two minutes later it was very nearly two as Katy McCabe put in a cross/shot from the left which hit the outside of the near post before going out for a goal kick. The Charlton keeper was at the near post and possibly had it covered but from my seat on the half way line I couldn’t be at all sure.
11 minutes and we had another corner when Beth Mead was again brought down, this time Charlton held their defensive line well and we were offside.
26 minutes and we had another free kick, this time more centrally, Jordan Nobbs tried one of her specials, which was a few centimetres too high. So close to the second goal that out total dominance of the game deserved. To this point the Charlton centre forward who was their most advanced player had been in her own half virtually the whole time with no other Charlton player within 10m of her so on the few occasions she did touch the ball had to pass it backwards.
It was Min 36 when Charlton had their first meaningful attack winning a corner on the right hand side. Amy Moorhouse was alert to the pressure from the Charlton players and punched the balll out for a second corner. When the ball came in a second time she was able to catch it cleanly.
At the end of the half Katie Startup twice kept Charlton in the tie with good saves from Carter and from a header coming from the resulting corner. The 10 person Charlton defence had done enough to frustrate Arsenal to the single goal at halftime, but Arsenal had had something like three quarters of the possession.
Neither team made any changes at half time, although Charlton were somewhat late in coming out for the second half.
Two minutes into the second half and again it was so near for Arsenal, this time Danielle Van de Donk with a thunderous shot from distance that had the cross bar rattling..
Five minutes later and Charlton had earned themselves a third corner but the ball was far too long and went out for an Arsenal throw. !0 minutes in and it was Arsenal two nil up, Heather O’Reilly showed good control in the box to fashion a shooting chance and her shot beat everyone.
13 minutes in and Joe Montemurro made his first change bring on Vivienne Miedema for Beth Mead who hadn’t looked herself for much of the first half. The change brought an immediate impact, A corner taken by Nobbs wasn’t cleared, the ball went back to the right hand side and a cross from Heather O’Reilly was met perfectly by Vivienne whose bullet header gave Startup absolutely no chance. It was the best cross of the afternoon and thoroughly deserved to end up in the back of the net.
By now the extra fitness and strength of the Arsenal layers was beginning to tell as the Charlton part timers began to flag. Both managers made changes, Griffin and Lee coming on for Charlton and Lisa Evans replacing Alex Scott.
Miedema nearly had a second when a thunderous shot deflected downwards from the underside of the crossbar before bouncing out into play, the linesman was correctly placed to view the bounce of the ball and was happy that it wasn’t a goal. One of those instances when it would have been nice to see a replay for confirmation though.
With eight minutes to go and the mach safely won Charlton made their final change with Kim Dixson coming on. By now the outfield players who had defended stoutly for the whole game were really tired and Arsenal took full advantage with two late goals, Danielle Carter bundling the ball in from inside the six yard box and Jordan Nobbs with a beauty from 30 metres which this time was just under rather than over the bar.
The referee blew his whistle exactly on 45 minutes, probably 3 minutes early but no one in the ground minded. Attendance was 810, a pity really as it had been a good game of football that deserved a bigger crowd.
A game where Arsenal dominated and the scoreline reflected that. Five nil might have been a little harsh on Charlton, but it reflected the difference in quality between the two sides.
In the other quarter finals Manchester City needed extra time to beat Sunderland and they now play Chelsea. Everton had a very convincing 6 – 1 win over WSL2 side Durham and will be our hosts on Sunday 15 April. I understand the both games will be shown live on the BBC, full details yet to be announced.
Next Ladies matches are :-
Sunday 1 April WSL1 12:30 Arsenal v Chelsea (this will have coverage on the BBC red button)
Sunday 15 April SSE Women’s Cup semi final away at Everton full details to be announced
Wed 18 April WSL1 Arsenal v Reading 19:30 Meadow Park Borehamwood
It is a pity that the match on Sunday clashes timewise with our Men’s game v Stoke but TV schedules preclude changing either of them.
From the Arsenal History Society
And from Untold
- Why international football managers are just like car thieves
- Amazing shock horror, it seems it is crisis time in football EVERYWHERE. That makes a change
- Arsenal’s next manager puts his head over the parapet
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?