By Oliver Yew at Skelmersdale United FC
Arsenal Ladies clinched the inaugural FA Women's Super League title with a convincing 3-1 win over Liverpool Ladies.
Laura Harvey's side were inspired by Rachel Yankey's first-half brace before Liverpool pulled a goal back after a defensive mistake. But Kim Little's confident second-half penalty sealed the Gunners' win as they lifted the FA WSL trophy at Skelmersdale United Football Club.
Arsenal's next goal? The Continental Cup, which starts next weekend with another game against Liverpool.
With the destination of the WSL trophy riding on the outcome of the match Harvey's team could have been forgiven for feeling some nerves in the opening stages.
But if they did it did not show and the Gunners made the best possible start as Yankey fired the visitors ahead in the ninth minute.
Liverpool were looking to spoil Arsenal's rhythm and Michelle Evans nearly caught Emma Byrne off her line with a long-range effort but the Irish keeper recovered to make the save.
Despite Liverpool's resurgence it was Arsenal who looked the more threatening in front of goal with Yankey at the heart of everything.
And it was the forward who doubled her side's advantage and her tally for the afternoon after Ellen White made a excellent run down the right and picked out the lively Yankey, who poked home from 10 yards.
After the break Jayne Ludlow had the chance to extend her side's lead even further but her weak shot from the edge of the penalty area was easily saved by Gibbons.
The Gunners kept pressing for a third but to Liverpool's credit they never caved in and the home side were handed a lifeline by an Arsenal defensive mix-up.
In the 59th minute Byrne fumbled a regulation cross after a heavy collision with captain Faye White. The ball fell kindly for Reds striker Katie Brussell, who kept her composure to find the back of the net.
Despite the setback Arsenal looked to restore their advantage quickly and in the 73rd minute they had their opportunity as Liverpool full-back Emma James pulled down Ellen White in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Little stepped up to score her ninth goal of the season, restore her side's two-goal lead and leave them just over 15 minutes away from the Super League crown.
Harvey reacted by bringing Jordan Nobbs on for Carter as Arsenal looked to hold onto their advantage and the Gunners used all of their experience to hold on for the three points.
The final whistle sparked joyous celebrations from the Arsenal players and staff and they continued as Faye White held aloft the FA Women's Super League trophy for the first time.
- White (C)
- Flaherty 65
- Carter 75
- Yankey Goal! Goal!
- Little Goal!
- Houghton 65
- Nobbs 75
- Lynda Shepherd 70
- Nicola Twohig
- Samantha Chappell
- Brusell 86 Goal!
- Watson 60
- Nicki Harding 86
- Foster 60
- Elizabeth Bailey
- Jones 70