By Nik Brumsack at Meadow Park
Arsenal Ladies took one step closer to retaining their WSL title with victory over Lincoln at Meadow Park on Sunday.
Strikes from the recalled Jennifer Beattie and Rachel Yankey gave the home side a two-goal lead, and although Remi Allen pulled one back late from the penalty spot, Laura Harvey’s team were good value for their win.
Harvey made two changes from the team that beat Bristol Academy in the Continental Cup on Monday, with Jordan Nobbs and Beattie replacing Kelly Smith and Jayne Ludlow.
After a quiet start, Arsenal settled and went close when Nicola Hobbs had to be alert to keep out Steph Houghton’s header.
England international Jess Clarke was proving Lincoln’s biggest threat and, after turning just outside the box, she fired in a shot which Emma Byrne held comfortably.
Arsenal were straight back on the front foot, however, and after a fine crossfield pass from Gemma Davison, Yankey fired a shot into the side-netting.
The home side were applying the pressure and it came as no surprise when they took the lead after 25 minutes.
Yankey’s cross was palmed out by Hobbs into the path of Beattie, who fired home at the second attempt.
After going one goal up Harvey’s side continued to dominate, with Nobbs and Yankey both going close.
Yankey was not to be denied for long though, and extended the home side’s lead in the 37th minute.
Davison's powerful effort was well saved by Hobbs after a good break down the right. From the rebound, Nobbs’ shot was blocked on the line by Sophie Bradley but Yankey was on hand to sweep the loose ball home.
The second half was a quieter affair, though Kim Little, Beattie and substitute Danielle Carter all went close to adding to Arsenal’s lead before the visitors earned a penalty.
Clarke advanced into the penalty area before being fouled by Chapman, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot. Allen stepped up and reduced the arrears.
Despite the setback, Arsenal remained largely in control and could have made the game safe when Hobbs did well to keep out Beattie’s powerful effort.
The home side were nearly made to regret their missed chances late on when, after racing clear through, Laura Alleway was only prevented equalising by a good save from Byrne, who tipped her effort over the bar.
Arsenal keep their unbeaten run going strong with three matches remaining.
- Fahey 60
- Yankey 73 Goal!
- Davison 70
- Beattie Goal!
- Flaherty 60
- Carter 70
- White 73
Notts County Ladies
- Laura Alleway
- Walton 87
- Meaghan Sargeant
- Hamilton 68
- Allen Goal!
- Harris 87
- Sophie Baker
- Cantrell 68