Super League Sunday

Impetus editor Ben Gilby reviews two of yesterday’s top Barclays FA Women’s Super League games.

Arsenal 4-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

Arsenal maintained their 100% start to their Barclays FA Women’s Super League defence with a comfortable win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Brighton with all behind the ball in opening period, with a very tight midfield line forcing Arsenal to play across them, but making it very difficult to make much of any time on the ball the Seagulls got. The first chance fell the home side’s way – Evans crossed the ball, but Miedema couldn’t make contact. A minute later, a delightful run by Jen Beattie found Vivianne Miedema. Her pinpoint perfect through ball found Kim Little who waited for Brighton keeper Megan Walsh to commit herself before firing the Gunners ahead after nine minutes. It was all Arsenal as Brighton struggled to keep hold of any possession that they did have. The reigning champions came close on the half hour mark when Little’s corner was met by a thumping Leah Williamson header, which went narrowly wide. Matilde Lundorf offered Brighton’s best threat from right-back with her glorious cross field ball to Kayleigh Green was adjudged to be offside. Shortly afterwards Green had Brighton’s first shot on target, which was comfortably held by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin. Arsenal doubled their advantage from a beautiful lay off from Jordan Nobbs, which found Vivianne Miedema who hit a powerful shot home after thirty-nine minutes from an acute angle. It remained 2-0 at the break.

Brighton had more to offer in the opening ten minutes of the second half, and thanks to two Arsenal errors, earned two rare appearances in the hosts penalty area, but indecisiveness allowed the Gunners to clear the danger. The Sussex side were made to pay for this profligacy on fifty-six minutes when the Dutch destroyer Miedema put through her international team-mate Danielle van de Donk to end the game as a contest. It became with twenty minutes left when Jordan Nobbs celebrated her return to the England squad by hitting a shot from the edge of the area which squirmed under Walsh. The Seagulls crafted another opportunity when Ellie Brazil’s cross found the excellent Lundorf Skovsen, but her shot trickled wide. There was one final chance for Arsenal to add to their tally when substitute Jordan Nobbs squared the ball to Beth Mead whose rasping shot from the edge of the area cannoned back off the bar.

Brighton & Hove Albion are due huge plaudits for their effort and work-rate, but it was the superior quality in depth and ability to make opportunities count that ensured that Arsenal gained the result.

TEAMS: ARSENAL: Peyraud-Magnin, Maier, Schnaderbeck, Beattie, McCabe, Williamson, Little, Nobbs, Evans, Miedema, van der Donk. Substitutes: Zinsberger (GK), Mitchell, Walti, Roord, Mead.

Scorers: Little 9, Miedema 39, van der Donk 56, Nobbs 70.

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Walsh, Simpkins, Whelan, Bowman, Gibbons, Williams, Lundorf Skovsen, Connolly, Brazil, Green, Whelan. Substitutes: Barton, Umotong, Nilden, Harris (GK), Kerkdijk, Le Tissier, Le Garrec

Attendance: 1,607.

West Ham United 0–2 Tottenham Hotspur

In front of the 24,790, the second highest crowd to watch a women’s club game in England, West Ham fell victim to an impressive backs-to-the-wall performance from newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium.

Spurs started confidently and crucially controlled the midfield area. This momentum led to their first chance on the Hammers goal, when Rosanna Ayane was played in and her thumping drive from the edge of the area went narrowly over the bar. West Ham’s opening shot on goal didn’t come until the seventeenth minute when Kate Longhurst’s effort went straight into Spurs keeper Rebecca Spencer’s midriff. Longhurst had another opportunity shortly afterwards but, rather than attempting a shot from just outside the six yard box, her attempted ball back to Martha Thomas was easily dealt with by the Spurs defence. Into the second quarter of the encounter there was a notable shift in momentum, but any hope of West Ham making their possession count was impeded by the increased use of the referees whistle as the free kick tally for both sides mounted. Spurs who almost took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Rianna Dean narrowly failed to connect with Ayane’s fierce cross-shot. Shortly afterwards, the two combined again with a different outcome. Another superb cross from Rosanna Ayane saw Dean rise between two home defenders to send a magnificent header flying past Courtney Brosnan in the West Ham goal for Spurs to take the lead. Despite West Ham looking lively in the final stages of the half, it was Tottenham who went in 1-0 up at the break.

West Ham started the second half on the front foot and earned back to back corners. Martha Thomas had a shot which Spencer parried. A follow up shot went wide. Still the Hammers pressed and Alisha Lehmann’s pacy cross was met by Adriana Leon’s header which failed to hit the target. Spurs were penned back to the extent that it took twenty-seven minutes to get their first chance of the half, Hannah Godfrey’s header went wide. The East Londoners hit back when young Australian starlet Jacynta Galabadaarachchi played in Kenza Dali whose mazy run ended with a shot which failed to hit the target. Martha Thomas missed a guilt edged opportunity when, with a goal gaping, she managed to side foot Cecile Redisch Kvamme’s cross wide of the target when it appeared easier to score. Tottenham punished West Ham’s inability to turn dominance into goals when, with seven minutes left, they clinched victory with a second goal. A free-kick far out on the left was simply not dealt with by the home defence, and the ball found its way to Lucy Quinn who gleefully fired home. Thomas has one further chance for West Ham, when her header was held by Spencer

This was a huge result for Tottenham who will take so much from this victory. They were outplayed for the vast majority of the second half, but held their discipline, rode their luck and took the chances that came their way. For West Ham, this was agony and undoubtedly the one that got away.

TEAMS: WEST HAM UNITED: Brosnan, Redisch Kvamme, Flaherty, Vetterlein, Baunach, Middag, Cho, Longhurst, Leon, Thomas, Lehmann. Substitutes: Moorhouse (GK), Simon, Hendrix, Kiernan, Galabadaarachchi, Dali.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Spencer, Percival, Godfrey, Filbey, Worm, Peplow, Green, Furness, Ayane, Dean, Graham. Substitutes: Morgan (GK), Mclean, Haines, Wynne, Addison, Quinn, Neville.

Scorers: Dean 36, Quinn 83.

Attendance: 24,790.

Ben Gilby is the editor of Impetus. He has over fifteen years experience in voluntary media officer roles within the sports of Football and Rugby Union, has appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Norfolk sports shows several times and published the book ‘The Game: Tales From A Season Travelling Around The Rugby Union Grounds of South-East England’.

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