WSL: Arsenal 1 Bristol City 1
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Teenager Lauren Hemp’s sensational first-half strike earned battling Bristol City a well-deserved point as Arsenal lost ground on the FA Women’s Super League 1 title challengers.
Despite coming under heavy pressure for much of the first-half, the Vixens resisted and took the lead when 17-year-old Hemp unleashed a venomous strike from the edge of the box.
But City have only beaten Arsenal once before – back in May 2014 – and they were denied three points when Danielle van de Donk scored from close range.
Arsenal, looking to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester City who won on Saturday, went close on 18 minutes when Jordan Nobbs rattled the crossbar.
Latching on to Vivianne Miedema’s knock down, the England midfielder hit a typically powerful strike that hit the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety.
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Jemma Rose, Danielle Carter and Nobbs again all went close for Arsenal, yet it was Bristol City who took the lead on 30 minutes when Hemp cut in from the left-flank and unleashed a fierce curling effort across goal and beyond keeper Sari van Veenendaal.
It took just six second-half minutes for Arsenal to get back on level terms, with Van de Donk thrashing in from a tight angle.
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Arsenal almost took the lead on the hour mark when Julie Biesmans inadvertently deflected Nobbs’ free-kick against her own crossbar.
But the Vixens looked a threat every time they got forwards and Flo Allen forced a fine save from Van Veenendaal when she slid in to meet Loren Dykes’ cross from the left and Chloe Arthur struck the crossbar with a 25-yard pot-shot as the game finished even.
Van de Donk said: “We are better than them, but we didn’t really show it.
“We were quite slow in possession and if we could have got ourselves level a bit earlier we could have won. We weren’t sharp enough and we need to be at a higher level if we are going to challenge this year.
“We have been waiting for that for three games, so I’m hoping it is going to come out in the next game, because it is taking a bit too long now.
“Chelsea and Manchester City look fit and sharp and their organisation is brilliant. But we have great players and a great team and I have complete faith and trust in them. We just need everything to be a little better and come together and we can challenge them.
“I’m happy that I scored and we got back in it, but with the chances in the last 15 or 20 minutes we could have scored one more.”
Arsenal: Van Veenendaal; Samuelsson, Rose, Henning, Mitchell (Taylor 79); Williamson, Nobbs; Carter (Mead 66), Van de Donk, O’Reilly (Evans 53); Miedema,
Unused subs: Moorhouse, Scott, Quinn, James.
*To buy tickets to an FA Women’s Super League match near you see www.fawsl.com/tickets.