WSL: Arsenal 4 Brighton 1
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal overcame an early scare to extend their 100 per cent start to the FA Women’s Super League campaign to nine wins.
Ini Umotong gave Brighton a shock lead but the Gunners hit back in emphatic fashion to ensure they go into next week’s top-of-the-table clash at Manchester City on a high.
Three goals in 15 first-half minutes from Vivianne Miedema, Dominique Bloodworth and Danielle Van de Donk put an end to any thoughts of an upset.
And Beth Mead put the icing on the cake with a stunning 80th-minute curler.
Arsenal made a fast start to the game with Van de Donk hitting the post with a sixth-minute header, but Meadow Park was stunned into silence when Brighton opened the scoring moments later.
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Umotong took advantage of Leah Williamson’s slip to race clear and thump her finish high past keeper Sari van Veenendaal.
Kayleigh Green almost doubled the visitors lead on 24 minutes when her 30-yard shot rattled back off the crossbar.
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But within seconds a Victoria Williams’ error sent Miedema through to slot her 14th league goal of the season.
Hourihan performed heroically in the Brighton goal, making several outstanding saves with her legs to keep Arsenal at bay.
But she could do nothing to stop Bloodworth’s close-range volley from Miedema’s cut back, her seventh assist of the season.
And Van de Donk headed in Mead’s 39th-minute corner to put Arsenal in control at the break.
Hope Powell’s side rarely threatened a comeback but did a good job of restricting the free-scoring Gunners until Mead curled in a right-foot shot from the left-edge of the penalty area.
Mead said: “It was a little bit frustrating at the beginning. The pleasing thing was we were making chances but just weren’t finishing them.
“We stuck to our game plan. We know the talent we’ve got in the team and that we can score goals and we kept playing the way we did and eventually we got our goals and got the win we deserved.
“People keep asking me if my goal was a cross but I actually did mean this one.
“To be fair, it was probably one of my better Arsenal goals so far. I’ll take that any day of the week. I’d take a tap in as I’m struggling at the moment to score goals.”
As for the ACL injury suffered by Jordan Nobbs against Everton last week, Mead added: “We feel devastated for Jordan. It is a horrible injury and unfortunately it happens too much in the women’s game.
“But Jordan is an unbelievable character and she has been behind us all week and we’ve had to be professional and continue as we had to prepare for this game like we would any other game.”
As for the game against Manchester City next week, MEad said: “It is going to be a tough game and we knew we needed to go into it on the back of a win and keep our momentum going. Hopefully we can go there and perform again.
“We will go there looking to win. That is the level we are at, at the moment.
“We don’t want to look arrogant but we know that we have got the talent to be able to win any game in this league. We will continue to push on and continue to push to get three points each game.”
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