WSL: Arsenal 1 Everton 0
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Beth Mead fired Arsenal into third in the FA Women’s Super League 1 as the Gunners beat Everton at Meadow Park on Friday.
Mead’s controlled finish at the back post after was nearly cancelled out spectacularly seven minutes later by Mollie Green but her effort was tipped onto the bar by goalie Sari Van Veenendaal.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk looked to have levelled for Everton but for the offside flag, before Danielle Carter missed two gilt-edged chances to settle the game as the Gunners closed out their fourth consecutive FA WSL 1 win.
Carter snatched at the game’s earliest chance after 12 minutes as Arsenal pressed for an early lead, but Emma Mitchell required a brief trip to the treatment room on 28 minutes after Chloe Kelly’s boot drew blood with a high foot.
Despite Everton having settled into the game, Arsenal took the lead on 37 minutes when Mead had time to control a cross and sweep in at the back post for her 15th goal of the season.
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Mollie Green, a late call-up after Blues captain Danielle Turner was taken ill pre-game, nearly equalised from 30 yards but Van Veenendaal, at full stretch, tipped the ball onto the bar.
Olivia Chance and Sweetman-Kirk were denied by Van Veenendaal and the offside flag respectively within 10 minutes of the restart before Carter missed two chances to settle the game.
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The Gunners forward fired over from 12 yards on 56 minutes and was denied a certain goal by an outstanding reaction save from Toffees goalie Lizzie Durack eight minutes later.
Arsenal had done enough to leapfrog Liverpool into third as in-form Mead added another notch to her impressive goal tally this term with a clinical piece of play that proved the match’s decisive moment.
Mead said: “It’s nice to be scoring goals. We were playing with 10 players at the time, so the girls were tired but we were keeping possession well and it I think was nice to get that breakthrough with the goal.
“The girls played with 10 players for a long time (following Emma Mitchell’s temporary withdrawal), which took it out of the team, but we showed professionalism in the shape that we kept when we were playing and made it hard for Everton to break us down.
“The cold was hard and we had to adapt to it and obviously both teams have to play in it.”
Arsenal’s next assignment is the Continental Tyres Cup final against Manchester City in Wycombe on March 14 and Mead added: “Obviously, it’s nice to go into the break before the SheBelieves Cup with a win. We have to hope that we stay injury-free and ready to go for the final.
“They [Manchester City] have a big game [on Saturday]. Anything in this league is possible and we want to keep pushing.
“There’s mistakes in every team in this league and we want to keep putting pressure on the top two and hopefully they will make more mistakes and we will get higher in the table.”
Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal, Mitchell, Quinn, Evans, McCabe, Janssen, van de Donk, Little (James 46), Mead (Kuyken 90), Carter, O’Reilly (Ngunga 90).
Unused subs: Moorhouse, Scott, Williamson.
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