Arsenal Ladies substitute takes the plaudits in cup comeback against Notts County

Kelly Smith (right) scored the Arsenal Ladies equaliser as they came from behind to beat Notts Count

Kelly Smith (right) scored the Arsenal Ladies equaliser as they came from behind to beat Notts County 3-2 in the Continental Cup. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Fara Williams netted a last-gasp penalty to seal Arsenal’s Continental Cup semi-final place – and gave all the credit to substitute Kelly Smith.

Smith came on midway through the second half with the Gunners trailing 2-1 against Notts County and grabbed an equaliser before Williams scored from the spot in the final minute to complete the turnaround.

That sent the holders through to the last four and Williams said: “Games against Notts County are always tough but we did well to make sure we stayed in it.

“Kelly made the difference when she came on – a player we targeted because of the ability she has on the ball. She brought us back into the game, which was much-needed.

“I was fine taking the penalty – I’m always chilled. I missed one the other week [against Sunderland] but it was just a case of executing it.

“We said in the huddle after Kelly scored that we had 10 minutes and we were more than capable of getting a goal. We pressed on and probably tried harder than them to get a winner.

“We’re probably out of the running for the Women’s Super League. We haven’t been consistent in the league so getting to the final of the cup is our target.”

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Williams set up the opening goal after nine minutes of the quarter-final clash at The Hive, Barnet, delivering a corner for Casey Stoney to head past goalkeeper Megan Walsh.

Danielle Van de Donk almost doubled the Gunners’ lead when she struck the crossbar, but County levelled five minutes before half-time as Fern Whelan nodded in a free-kick from Jo Potter.

Half-time substitute Jess Clarke put the Magpies in front with a curling finish into the far corner – and Arsenal hit the woodwork twice more through Williams and Jordan Nobbs.

But Smith levelled matters with a left-footed strike eight minutes from time and, when Laura Bassett brought down Asisat Oshoala, Williams secured the Gunners’ victory from the spot.