Arsenal made to work for Brighton victory
- Credit: PA
Arsenal were made to work for a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Meadow Park on Sunday afternoon as they ticked another game off in their quest for the Champions League.
The Gunners moved back into third after Manchester United moved into the final Champions League spot for a few hours after a 4-1 win over the Gunners north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur earlier on Sunday.
Hope Powell's side started brightly as Kayleigh Green got down the flank before sending a low cross into the box aiming for Emily Simpkins but Katie McCabe was on hand to clear the danger.
Arsenal's first opening came inside 8 minutes as Danielle van de Donk crossed for Jordan Nobbs who's effort was well saved by Megan Walsh in the Seagulls goal down to her left.
Brighton were dangerous on the counter attack as they had another opportunity to break the deadlock as Ellie Brazil pickpocketed Lotte Wubben-Moy before her cross for Aileen Whelan was held by Manuela Zinsberger.
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Vivianne Miedema was then inches away from putting Arsenal ahead when Beth Mead crossed low but the Netherlands international popped her effort wide of goal.
Arsenal however did have the ball in the net on 27 minutes as Leah Williamson played the ball down the line for van de Donk who crossed for Nobbs and she squeezed her effort beyond Walsh in the Seagulls goal.
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Montemurro made a tactical change in the build up to the goal as Nobbs and Mead switched wings as they attempted to open up the visitors who were frustrating them.
Mead had a shot over from range when Miedema's cross was only half cleared by Danique Kerkdijk before she lashed a volley over the top of the crossbar.
It was a first half few of chances with the Gunners having the final opportunity as McCabe played a ball up the pitch that beat Brighton's press with Miedema running onto it before pulling her pass back to Roord who saw her shot saved by Walsh.
Arsenal came out of the blocks the quicker in the second half when Nobbs opened up the Brighton defence with a pass into Miedema who dragged her effort wide from point blank range.
Brighton could have been level when Zinsberger was caught out of her box following a defensive mix-up the ball falling for Simpkins who struck her effort inches wide from range.
Zinsberger's opposite number in the Albion goal was then let off the hook when she spilled a corner from McCabe and before any Arsenal attackers could pounce and turn in the rebound Emma Koivisto cleared the danger.
Arsenal were looking uncomfortable defensively with Zinsberger so nearly caught out once again outside her box but McCabe bailed her goalkeeper out to clear the danger.
That forced Montemurro into action as with twenty minutes to go Williamson was replaced by Lia Wälti.
On 76 minutes the Gunners did make it 2-0 with Nobbs scoring her second of the game when van de Donk played a defence splitting pass into Miedema who quickly shifted the ball on for Mead and she unselfishly squared for Arsenal's number 8 who slotted into the corner of the net.
Arsenal then made their second change of the game as Jill Roord was replaced by Caitlin Foord two minutes later.
Foord then went close again instantly as she curled her effort wide of the post from the edge of the box after neat link up play with Mead.
Brighton could have pulled a goal back when van de Donk brought down Inessa Kaagman just outside the box but the resulting free-kick was well taken by Zinsberger.
van de Donk was booked after the foul so Arsenal's final change of the match saw her replaced by Malin Gut for the last couple of minutes.
Two could have been three with the final talking point of the match when Miedema was played in but her low shot was well saved by the fine reactions of Walsh in the Seagulls goal.
Arsenal now turn their attention to their game in hand as they take on West Ham United at Meadow Park on Wednesday evening.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Patten, Williamson (71),Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Nobbs, Little, van de Donk (Gut 89),Roord (Foord 78),Mead, Miedema.
Unused subs: Williams, Catley, Maritz, Maier, Goldie.