FA Women’s Super League – Round-Up…

Manchester City are still on top of the table, but with two games in hand, Chelsea will be laser-focused in their remaining games after their semifinal loss to Barcelona on Saturday.

In front of a sellout crowd for the first time at Stamford Bridge, it wasn’t to be for Emma Hayes’ last final chance at the Champions League title. 

Barcelona made the final for the 8th time after some controversial referee decisions leading to both a penalty and sending off for Chelsea and will face Lyon in the final. Arsenal are safe in third, despite their result this weekend…

Everton 1-1 Arsenal 

It was a blustery afternoon at Walton Hall Park as Everton fought back to earn an injury-time draw against Arsenal, the first point they have picked up against The Gunners since 2012.

After convincing wins over both Bristol City and Leicester City, Arsenal were back to lacking a clinical edge and unable to assert true dominance over the home side.

Having now been beaten for the first time by both Tottenham and West Ham this season, this was another disappointing record to tumble in an inconsistent campaign for the North London side.

Arsenal were bright out of the gates with Stina Blacksteinus’ first effort inside of ten minutes being saved by Courtney Brosnan in goal.

Everton responded well and came close to the opener just nine minutes later. The Toffees twin attack of Sara and Karen Holmgaard teamed up again, seeing their link-up effort slam into the crossbar. Justine Vanhaevermaet picked up the rebound but was unable to send it goal-bound.

Just ahead of the break, Victoria Pelova came close on the half-volley on the edge of the box but sent her effort wide, so it was all square as the teams went in at half-time.

Victoria Pelova was on hand again for another effort 10 minutes into the second half. Link-up play started by Beth Mead, picked up by Katie McCabe brought the ball forward down the left. McCabe then crossed into the box to find Pelova, but her effort was dragged wide.

Arsenal continued their press, with efforts from Emily Fox and Caitlin Foord unable to beat Courtney Brosnan between the sticks.

Their persistence paid off at the eighty-minute mark, with Alessia Russo breaking the deadlock. Beth Mead’s initial chance was saved by Brosnan, but Russo was able to pounce on the rebound and tap it home for the goal.

The home side fought on deep into injury time and were rewarded for their determined display throughout the game. Academy player and substitute Issy Hobson found the back of the net with her looping header.

The goal was not only important in rescuing a point for the Toffees, but it was the first senior goal for Hope, the 16-year-old making the bench due to Everton’s continued injury crisis. It also makes her the youngest ever to score in the WSL.

With just minutes left in injury time, Arsenal continued to press to salvage their win, but even with several goal attempts, it wasn’t to be and the final whistle blew.

With an ever-growing injury list and a bench of academy players, The Toffees manager Brian Sorenson was delighted to pick up a point against Arsenal in this historic result.

Speaking to EvertonTV, he said: “Credit to the players. They were brave, they were strong, and we got a good point.” 

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall was disappointed to concede so late in the game and the lack of clinical finishes affected the result.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com he said: “In order to get better results we need to be more effective in the chances that we create. Overall we created enough to win the game and that’s probably the one thing we need to take away to improve our effectiveness.”

Next up for the teams, Arsenal travel to Manchester City and Everton host Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion 

With an FA Cup final on the horizon and a strong showing across the season, Tottenham Hotspur had been hoping to take three more points on the board as they welcomed Brighton.

The Seagulls knew they were safe from relegation after their initial troubles earlier in the season but every point counts as they look to end the campaign on a positive note.

Brighton made a strong start, and we were rewarded with the best of the early chances of the game.

Geummin Lee saw her chance go wide and Maisie Symonds’s shot was cleared by Becky Spencer in the Spurs goal.

Tottenham were able to take advantage on the counter, with Charlotte Grant’s fast run-on goal only denied when her effort went wide.

Soon after, The Seagulls’ leading goal scorer Elisabeth Terland also saw her chance go begging, but when given the next chance, in the seventeenth-minute, she didn’t make the same mistake twice.

Pauline Bremer’s run down the right saw her send a cross into the box, finding Terland, whose header was initially saved by Spencer in goal, but Terland was able to pick up the rebound and send it home to open up the scoring.

The Lilywhites kept up their fight in search of an equaliser, with Charlotte Grant involved again but failing to make it past Loeck in the Brighton goal.

Jessica Naz aimed to set up Bethany England for Spurs equaliser but she saw her chance saved by Loeck between the sticks again ahead.

Just ahead of the break, Geummin Lee had another chance on goal but saw her shot blocked.

Brighton came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, pinning Tottenham back in their half and dominant in possession. There was a chance for Spurs from Shuang Wang, but it wasn’t to be.

A triple substitute followed for Spurs to bring fresh legs and fresh ideas in search of their equaliser.

Kit Graham, one of the substitutions, saw her chance go wide, but Spurs still struggled to pull themselves back into the action.

Time was running out for the hosts, as they made a final push to earn themselves a point. With just ten minutes to, it was another substitute, Ash Neville who started the charge for Spurs.

Neville found space down the right, her cross-finding Bethany England, who was able to send it home past Loeck in goal.

The goal seemed to wake up the rest of the team, and deep in injury time Spurs had a chance to nick all three points. It was Bethany England involved again, but she saw her header from distance rebound off the crossbar.

It was their last real chance of the game and they had to settle for a draw as the final whistle blew.

The Liywhites’ manager Robert Vilahamn was hoping for a win to add to their strong position in the table but was happy to earn a point from the game. 

Speaking to SpursPlay, he said: “Very disappointed I really wanted to have a win today. A draw is good when you are down by one, but it’s also disappointing when you are not winning.”

Despite conceding late in the game and having to settle for a draw, interim coach Mikey Harris was pleased to continue their four-game unbeaten run against a strong Spurs side. 

Speaking to www.brightonandhovealbion.com, he said: “I was really pleased with the goal we scored. On another day we could have maybe got the second goal which changes the complexion of the game. But on balance, we have to be pleased with a point at Tottenham. We want to finish as high as we can, to finish strongly with our performances. You can see the players are committed to that. I am proud of them, as I always am.”

Looking ahead, Tottenham travel to Walton Hall Park to face Everton, and Brighton host Aston Villa

Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham United

After a poor start to the season, Aston Villa secured a decent mid-table position but was without a win in three games, so conceding late in the game will have damaged their hopes of finishing inside the top six.

West Ham have been battling relegation worries throughout their campaign, but with Bristol City losing to Manchester City later in the day, they are now secure in their place in the WSL.

The flow was equal between the teams from the start, with end-to-end action as both teams were in search of an opener.

West Ham were the first to get a clear-cut chance, but Riko Ueki’s close-range effort was easily saved by Sophia Poor between the sticks for Villa.

The teams battled on throughout the first half, with neither side producing any real threat of breaking the deadlock.

Both Ueki and Ziu did their best to thwart the Villa defence but saw their efforts come to nothing.

It was Rachel Daly who had the best chance of the first half for Villa, but Mackenzie Arnold in goal was on hand to make sure she did not get on the score sheet.

Into the second half, Villa forward Kirsty Hanson was able to set up another chance for Daly but she was unable to control it on target.

The Hammers came close just moments later when Viviane Asseyi met Snerle’s ball from a corner but it was wide of the mark.

The game began to sway in the hosts’ favour, with Mackenzie Arnold having to be on point in keeping out an effort from Kenza Dali.

Eventually, the deadlock was broken when Hanson was able to find space and get the ball to substitute Alisha Lehmann, who sent it past the keeper to open up the scoring for Villa in the seventy-second minute.

With twenty minutes to play, the visitors did not let their heads drop and continued to push forward in search of an equaliser.

Shannon Cooke rescued the elusive point for West Ham deep into injury time when she first to the ball from Ukei’s whipped-in cross and was able to head it home to nab both the equaliser and her first goal for the club.

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward was frustrated to lose their chance at three points in the way they did.

Speaking to Villa TV she said: “Disappointed right at the death to concede in the way we did so that’s disappointing of course. It’s certainly a difficult one because we were in full control in that second half and they didn’t really threaten and that’s the difficult part.”

The Hammers manager Rehanne Skinner was pleased to pick up a point from the game after her team’s determined performance, but frustrated they couldn’t put away more of their chances.

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “A point on the road is important but given the nature of the game and the way that we’ve played the game, I think we deserved all three points. That’s the attitude that we need to have, that West Ham ‘never say die’ attitude, and we want to make sure that we take as many points out of the games that we can.”

Next up, Aston Villa travel to face Brighton, and West Ham host Leicester City