Arsenal 2-0 Lincoln Ladies
The FA WSL Continental Cup Final
7.30pm, Friday 4 October 2013
The Hive, Barnet FC
Live on BT Sport
Arsenal have secured their third successive FA Women’s Super League Continental Cup crown after a deserved 2-0 victory over valiant Lincoln Ladies at The Hive.
Second half strikes from Ellen White and Kim Little earned the Gunners victory.
Before the game Arsenal boss Shelley Kerr had described Lincoln as their "bogey team” after three draws this season. And Rick Passmoor’s side looked on course to frustrate them for the fourth time as the match reached its closing stages.
But White smashed the ball past Karen Bardsley 14 minutes from time, while Little struck a superb solo effort in the closing stages to end the hoodoo and clinch yet another piece of silverware for Arsenal.
The defending champions dominated the opening period, indeed Lincoln’s first effort on goal didn’t arrive until three minutes before the interval. However, Kerr’s side could not find the breakthrough to match their endeavour.
Pressing high up the field, the Gunners pegged Lincoln back in their own half for long stretches. Danielle Carter tested Karen Bardsley early on with a low shot that was pushed wide for a corner.
Shortly afterwards White ran unchallenged toward the edge of the box, but Bardsley was equal to the Arsenal striker’s well-struck drive, while Jordan Nobbs failed to catch the England goalkeeper out with an ambitious cross-cum-shot from the right-hand touchline.
Lincoln grew in ambition and confidence as the half wore on, and began to exert some pressure of their own on the Arsenal backline.
Aileen Whelan’s 42nd-minute shot, which sailed harmlessly out for a goal kick, triggered a manic rush of chances which could have led to either side breaking the deadlock.
Following a series of weak attempted clearances in the Arsenal box, the ball landed at the feet of Bonnie Horwood. The Lincoln midfielder steered the ball toward goal and it took a nick off the flailing leg of Gilly Flaherty before landing narrowly wide of Emma Byrne’s left-hand post.
After clearing the resulting corner, Arsenal surged up-field and Little, who notched the winning goal in last season’s Continental Cup Final, weaved in from the right before seeing her well-struck effort deflected out for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece Steph Houghton was denied from point-blank range, while Remi Allen made a heroic double-block to thwart Carter from inside the six-yard box.
Lincoln’s good momentum continued after the restart – Jess Clarke sounded a warning of her threat with a dipping drive – but Arsenal soon re-asserted their dominance.
White should have scored after stretching to meet Little’s perfectly weighted centre, but she could only watch on as the ball drifted agonisingly wide of Bardsley’s far post.
Little was growing increasingly influential, but she failed to beat Bardsley after a free-flowing move, while Rachel Yankey and Carter were both, amazingly, denied by a series of goal-line clearances in quick succession.
Arsenal finally put the ball in the back of the net in the 64th minute – but unfortunately for Kerr’s charges, it was ruled out for a foul on Bardsley.
But they didn’t have to wait too much longer to break the deadlock as White latched on to a superb pass from Little before rifling the ball beyond Bardsley.
Buoyed by their breakthrough, Arsenal continued to press forward and Little got the goal her performance deserved when she embarked on a mazy run through the heart of the Lincoln defence before planting the ball past Bardsley with aplomb.
Arsenal 2-0 Lincoln Ladies