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Arsenal 4-2 Birmingham City 24/06/2012 | FAWSL

4y ago


Arsenal 4-2 Birmingham City 24/06/2012 | FAWSL The official Youtube channel of The FA WSL with exclusive news, match highlights, player profiles and more. Find out more about the FAWSL: Like FAWSL on facebook: Arsenal Ladies opened up a five-point gap at the top of the FA Women's Super League table after recording a comfortable 4-2 victory over second-placed Birmingham City Ladies. Both sides had entered Sunday's encounter with unbeaten starts to the league campaign, but it was Arsenal who emerged with that record intact after 90 minutes. After a cagey opening period it was the home side that started to settle, and Arsenal skipper Katie Chapman produced the first effort of the game, but her low drive from the edge of the box was dragged wide. Meanwhile, England international Rachel Yankey grew into the game, terrorising Birmingham down the left-hand side. Arsenal began to carve out chance after chance, with Yankey proving to be the home side's most potent threat. And they came desperately close to breaking the deadlock in the 23rd minute. Yankey's superb floated cross from the left was tipped on to the bar by Birmingham keeper Rebecca Spencer, and the resulting scramble saw the ball clip the angle of the goal and somehow escape to safety. It proved be no surprise when the hosts took the lead just three minutes later. Kim Little arrowed in a corner-kick from the left-hand side, and Gemma Davison rose highest to head home, with Spencer powerless to prevent the ball from thundering into the back of the net. That lead was doubled just three minutes later. The effervescent Yankey sent in a teasing cross, and Spencer could only palm the ball into the path of Kim Little, who lashed the ball in from close-range for her 11th strike of the season. Arsenal began the second half in similar fashion to the way they had ended the first period, and further extended their advantage moments after the interval. Steph Houghton's speculative long-range effort slipped through Spencer's fingers, to ensure a turbulent return to north London for the former Arsenal goalkeeper. However, Birmingham, buoyed by the introduction of England forward Eni Aluko, clawed one back just four minutes later when Rachel Williams ghosted in at the nearpost and nodded the ball past Emma Byrne. Unfortunately for the visitors, any hopes of snatching a share of the spoils were dashed with 21 minutes left on the clock when substitute Jennifer Beattie's looping header restored Arsenal's three-goal lead. Jodie Taylor managed to grab a further consolation for the visitors, majestically curling a sublime effort beyond the reach of Byrne in the 82nd minute, but Arsenal held on to secure a much-deserved victory. Returning Arsenal forward Kelly Smith hailed her side's "professional" display. "Very professional," she said. "I think the first half we really tried to dominate the game. We played it round in nice patches. I think it was quite comfortable for us. A pleasing performance all round really. These are our biggest rivals -- to pick up a win, we're ecstatic really." Despite seeing his side fall five points behind Arsenal, Blues boss David Parker refused to rule out their chances of winning the league. "We're still very much in the title race," he said. "Both teams will drop points, we've just got make sure that we drop less than them. We're probably going to have to beat them at our place now." Line-ups: Arsenal (4-3-3): Byrne; Scott, Flaherty, Grant, Fahey (Beattie 52); Houghton, Chapman, Davison (E White 63); Little, Nobbs (Smith 70), Yankey. Subs not used: Harris, Tracy, Carter, Bragg. Bookings: none. Red cards: none. Birmingham (4-4-2): Spencer; Weston (Christiansen 90), Harrop, Bassett, Unitt (Aluko 45); Carney, Moore, Westwood, Potter; Taylor, Williams. Subs not used: Hourihan, Ballard, Torkildsen. Bookings: Weston 45, Williams 60, Moore 75. Red cards: none. Att: 809 Ref: D. Treleaven