Rachel Yankey scores in Continental Cup Semi-Final defeat of Bristol Academy.
Bristol Academy 0-4 Arsenal
The FA WSL Continental Cup
7.30pm, Monday 3 September 2012
Stoke Gifford Stadium, Bristol Academy WFC
Arsenal boss Laura Harvey was delighted after her side sealed a comfortable Continental Cup Semi-Final victory at Bristol to set up a repeat of last year’s Final.
The Gunners, current holders of the trophy, will face Birmingham City in next month’s showdown after Gemma Davidson’s first-half strike and goals from Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey and substitute Jennifer Beattie made sure of victory.
Arsenal had been held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol at Borehamwood last week, but the outcome of this meeting was never in doubt once Smith curled home a spectacular 30-yard free kick to put the visitors 2-0 up in the 70th minute.
Harvey said: “Once that went in, it changed the game completely and the result was never in doubt – it was all us over the final 20 minutes.
“Kelly still has top quality and although it takes a lot to get the ball off Steph Houghton at a free kick, I though this one was right for a left-footer. She showed with her strike what she brings to the table and she has scored two top-quality goals in the last week.
“Getting to cup finals is what Arsenal are all about. We were disappointed not to reach The FA Women’s Cup final this season, but now October will be a big month for us because we have the UEFA Women's Champions League as well.”
Bristol boss Mark Sampson felt this was a game too far for his side, who had already been through testing games against Arsenal and Birmingham in the previous seven days.
He said: “I just thought that caught up with us and we weren’t our usual selves. We had played the best two teams in the country – and Arsenal twice – in the space of a week and it had taken a lot out of us, both physically and mentall.
“But we will rest up now and be ready for Saturday’s game at Doncaster.”
The first half was an even affair until Davidson fired hom from the edge of the box through a crowd of players just before the interval.
But once Smith curled home a delicious left-footed strike from a free-kick to double the Gunners’ lead 20 minutes from time, Arsenal were firmly in command.
Three minutes later, Yankey forced home the third ftom Alex Scott’s cross – and Beattie had been on the pitch for only three minutes when she got her name on the scoresheet.
She made a powerful burst down the right and forced her way past two challenges before firing home the fourth goal.
Though Nikki Watts hit Arsenal’s post in the closing minutes, there was to be no way back for the Vixens.
Chamberlain; Windell (Curson 76), Rose, Yorston, McCatty; Harding (Cleverly 90)), James, Fishlock, Lawley (Heatherson 83); Del Rio, Watts. Substitutes not used Simkin, Matthews, Leek.
Byrne; Scott, Grant, Houghton, Fahey; Davison (White 83), Chapman, Ludlow (Nobbs 61), Yankey; Smith (Beattie 79), Little.
Substitutes not used Tracy, Bragg, Harris.
Referee Adam Bromley
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