By Emmet McEvoy
Steph Houghton’s stunning goal a minute from time rescued a point for Arsenal Ladies on a frustrating night at Sincil Bank.
A mixture of profligacy and inspired defending looked like it would cost the Gunners when Emily Roberts gave Lincoln the lead in the 88th minute but Houghton’s superb strike secured a draw for Shelley Kerr’s side.
Kerr named the same XI for the third match in succession. Gilly Flaherty partnered Ciara Grant at the back with Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs and stand-in captain Houghton in midfield. Sunday’s matchwinner Ellen White continued as the lone striker with Gemma Davison and Danielle Carter on the wings.
The Gunners started brightly and had the first effort on goal when Nobbs closed down a clearance to make space for herself but fired wide from the just outside the area.
A few minutes later patient play between Little, White and Nobbs on the edge of the Lincoln box gave Houghton a sight of goal but her curling effort just missed the target.
Lincoln seemed content to soak up the pressure but they looked dangerous on the counter attack and Emma Bryne had to be alert to save from Jess Clarke.
Arsenal continued to create chances though and should have taken the lead when Carter sent White clear. The England international dragged her shot wide from eight yards.
It was turning into a frustrating half for the visitors. They had another opportunity in the 21st minute when White found Little in the box. The Scotland international tried to round Karen Bardsley but the Lincoln goalkeeper stretched to intercept the ball at her feet.
Still they created chances. On the half-hour, Little fired wide from 25 yards before Davison’s low cross from the left found White who shot into the side netting.
A few minutes before the break, White set up another chance for Little but the ball bobbled at the vital moment and her shot was scuffed wide.
After a scrappy start to the second half, the game burst into life when Flaherty headed clear a Lincoln corner before running the length of the pitch and drawing an excellent save out of Bardsley.
A few minutes later Little played a short corner to Davison on the edge of the box. The 26-year-old scored the equaliser against Birmingham on Sunday from a similar position but this time her shot was deflected just past the post.
The Gunners continued to apply pressure. With just over 20 minutes remaining, Little surged into the box and laid the ball off for Nobbs but her shot was well held by Bardsley.
A mix-up between Byrne and Flaherty almost presented Roberts with a chance soon after but her chip fell short and a relieved Byrne gathered the ball.
Then came Arsenal’s best chance of the match. Little went on another surging run and this time found White unmarked in the box, but the 24-year-old fired a first-time shot across goal and wide.
With just two minutes of the 90 remaining it looked like those missed chances would be costly when the hosts took the lead.
Carla Cantrell’s shot from the edge of the box hit Grant and ricocheted straight into the path of Roberts, who rounded Byrne and rolled the ball into the net.
With so little time remaining, it appeared as though Lincoln had stolen the win. But Houghton had other ideas. She took a touch when Carter played the ball to her 25 yards out, looked up and curled an unstoppable shot past Bardsley to rescue a point.
- Houghton Goal!
Notts County Ladies
- Roberts Goal!
- Lauren Creswell