Women's Super League
Nobbs 4, Foord 10, Beattie 61, Mead 63
Arsenal Women ease past Everton rivals
- Credit: PA
Arsenal rounded off 2020 with a sublime 4-0 victory over FA Cup finalists Everton at Meadow Park on Sunday afternoon.
After a defeat to Manchester City, Gunners boss Joe Montemurro said that the match against the Toffees was a must win game or they wouldn't enter 2021 in a good position.
The hosts were quick out of the blocks and took the lead inside four minutes when Beth Mead drove down the right wing before fizzing in a cross for Jordan Nobbs, on her return to the starting XI, and she made no mistake in slotting beyond Sandy MacIver in the Everton goal.
In the blink of an eye it was 2-0 for Montemurro's troops as Leah Williamson played a superb ball into Jill Roord who drove into the box before squaring for Caitlin Foord to slot in her sixth Women's Super League goal of the season.
On 13 minutes Kim Little was forced into a good tackle in her own penalty area when Hayley Raso jinked her way into the box but the Scottish international was on hand to stop her getting a shot away on goal.
Arsenal were playing a more direct game and causing Everton plenty of problems exposing a high and flat defenc,e and on 17 minutes they could have had a third when Nobbs played in Foord but she scooped the ball over the top.
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Lisa Evans also made a return to the starting line-up and with 20 minutes played the Scottish international pulled a cross back for Roord but her effort was blocked by Megan Finnigan.
Willie Kirk's side did have a big chance to pull a goal back on 22 minutes when Nicoline Sorensen saw her shot from a narrow angle hit the post and from the rebound the Gunners failed to clear the danger as the ball fell to Raso who saw her snapshot sail just wide of Lydia Williams' goal.
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Mead was causing plenty for Everton to think about and on 30 minutes Arsenal's number nine skipped into the area but her low effort was well defended by Damaris Egurrola.
Williams was forced into a save at the other end when Grace Clinton intercepted a pass from Jennifer Beattie and played in Sorensen whose cross was well claimed by the Australian stopper.
It could have been 3-0 on 38 minutes when Katie McCabe whipped in a corner for Beattie and she headed over the top at the back post.
Everton made a change at the break as Poppy Pattinson came on for Danielle Turner as the Gunners were causing Turner quite a lot of problems down her side.
Williams was the first keeper called into action in the second half when Clinton fizzed in a cross, but the Arsenal custodian claimed the loose ball.
Roord then sent in a cross of her own in the 54th minute, aiming for Foord, which was hacked clear by Ingrid Moe Wold when the Australian was lurking.
acIver then was forced into a good save on the hour mark when Nobbs pulled the ball back for Roord and her effort was stopped by the legs of the young English international for a corner.
But from the resulting corner McCabe crossed for Beattie who headed into the net for her first goal after revealing she had been diagnosed with breast cancer as MacIver came out and missed her punch.
Montemurro then made his first change when Malin Gut was replaced by fellow Swiss international Lia Wälti on 61 minutes.
Two minutes later it was 4-0 to Arsenal when Mead, who put in a terrific display, was picked out by Nobbs on the right wing before she cut inside onto her left foot and curled an effort beyond MacIver and into the bottom left corner of the Everton goal.
On 68 minutes the Gunners nearly hit a fifth when Mead played a sensational through ball to Foord who got in one on one, but MacIver stayed up well to make the save after Foord had gone around her.
With just over 15 minutes to go Vivianne Miedema, who started on the bench, came on for Foord while Danielle van de Donk replaced Roord.
Five minutes later McCabe was also replaced by German international Leonie Maier with Arsenal well and truly in command of the game.
Little was then denied a fifth in the 82nd minute when Miedema played her in on goal but again MacIver stayed up to deflect the ball away from goal.
Everton had a brilliant opportunity to net a consolation goal when Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah cut inside before rattling the crossbar with a fierce left-footed strike from the edge of the box with 88 minutes on the clock.
However it was Montemurro's side who had the final chance of the game and indeed the year when van de Donk pulled the ball back for Little whose low effort took a deflection off Miedema and rolled wide of the target.
Arsenal: Williams, Evans, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe (Maier 80), Little, Gut (Walti 62), Roord (van de Donk 72), Mead, Foord (Miedema 72), Nobbs.
Unused subs: Zinsberger, Stenson.