Arsenal 3-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
The FA WSL
Sunday 1 September 2013
Arsenal won their eighth consecutive FA WSL game, securing all three points thanks to an effort from Danielle Carter, a penalty from Kim Little and a further strike from Jordan Nobbs.
The result moved them a point above Liverpool, playing Birmingham later in the day, to top the League for the first time this season.
Carter prodded home in the 35th minute to give the Gunners the lead, before a cracking strike from Sue Smith just after half-time restored hope for Doncaster.
Little scored from the spot for the hosts in the 53rd minute though and Nobbs made sure of the result in the 70th.
Asked if the game had gone to plan, Arsenal boss Shelly Kerr said: "Not really. In terms of getting the three points, yes, but I don't think we played particularly well today.
"The three points were obviously important though and we created a lot of chances."
The visitors came into the game on a high, following their first League victory on Thursday against Lincoln. They were aware, however, that Arsenal had beaten them 6-0 on their own turf the previous week.
And the Gunners started on the front foot again, with Carter and Gemma Davison looking particularly dangerous for the home side.
In fact, Carter struck the post in the tenth minute, picking up Ellen White's cross from the right and swivelling to skew her shot against the far post.
It was not until just before the half hour mark that there was another real chance. A run down the right by Davison led to Little slipping Nobbs through on goal, but Lyndsey Cunningham was on hand to make a vital last-ditch challenge.
The 31st minute brought a rare foray from Doncaster into the Arsenal half and Emma Byrne was almost embarrassed when she left Millie Bright's 30-yard effort, which, innocuous as it appeared, crashed back off the right-hand post.
The deadlock was broken when Belles failed to clear a corner from Little in the 35th minute. The ball found its way to Steph Houghton at the back post who slipped it to Carter for a simple finish.
Doncaster came out looking rejuvenated at the start of the second half and Smith took advantage of Houghton's misplaced pass to fire past Byrne from 20 yards, leaving the Arsenal keeper with no chance.
The momentum of the visitors was killed in the 53rd minute though, after Carter turned Bright and drove into the opposing penalty box where she was brought down by Victoria Williams, making her return from injury.
Little was cool from the spot and fired into the bottom left corner.
Arsenal made sure of the points when Nobbs slotted home White's cross, who drove inside from the right with ease.
Carter headed in from Alex Scott's cross in the 85th minute, but the assistant referee's flag saw her effort chalked off.
Doncaster manager John Buckley said: "I thought for the first 65 minutes we were good, we were getting the chances, but for the last 35 when we went 3-1 down, we looked defeated."
Meanwhile, goals from Toni Duggan, Michelle Hinnigan and substitute Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah were enough for Everton to beat Chelsea and halt their recent run of three consecutive defeats.
The exciting contest saw Chelsea come back from 2-0 down to level matters through Drew Spence and Karin Muya, before Boye-Hlorkah struck six minutes from time.
Victory sees the Merseysiders leapfrog the Londoners in the table.
Byrne, Mitchell, Scott, Grant, Houghton, Chapman (Weir 66), Little, White (Ayisi 87), Davison, Nobbs, Carter, Davison
Substitutes not used Tracy, Flaherty, Yankey
Doncaster Rovers Belles
Davies, Cunningham, Cox, Roberts, Williams, Bright, Lipka, Brussell (Cresswell 34), Mills (Melrose 72), Little, Smith
Substitutes not used Rowlands Higgins, Chadwick, Melrose, Sowerby, Purfield, Johnson