SUMMARY

Arsenal Ladies snatched a crucial late victory away to Everton on Sunday afternoon.

The win puts John Bayer's side five points clear of the Toffees at the bottom of the league with seven games remaining in the season.

The game sprung to life in the closing moments of the first half when Danielle Carter tapped Arsenal into the lead before Everton immediately responded through Nikita Parris' clinical finish.

Arsenal had Emma Byrne to thank in the second half when she saved a Michelle Hinnigan penalty. The Gunners then squandered a host of chances late on and it looked like they would leave the North West frustrated but Alex Scott popped up with the winner six minutes from time.

SETTING THE SCENE

Despite their promising recent run of form, Arsenal arrived on Merseyside still precariously placed in the WSL. But this represented an opportunity to distance themselves from the foot of the table with Everton the only team sitting below them.

Bayer shuffled his forward pack with Rachel Yankey coming in for Kelly Smith while Shinobu Ohno also dropped to the bench. Emma Mitchell returned at left back with Leah Williamson moving into midfield.

Arsenal's FA Cup final victory over the Toffees in June was arguably their most comprehensive performance of the season but the Blues came into this clash in desperate need of points - so a tough encounter was expected.

FIRST HALF

After a tame opening 10 minutes, Jordan Nobbs sent a long-range effort wide before Yankey tested the hands of Rachel Brown-Finnis.

In the 23rd minute, Nobbs made a driving run into the box before firing over as Arsenal began to seize control.

However 12 minutes later, Everton missed a clear chance when Hinnigan set up Danielle Turner but the midfielder pulled her shot just wide.

Arsenal took the lead a minute before the break when Williamson's initial effort was parried into Carter's path and the young forward made no mistake with a close-range finish.

But Everton produced an immediate response in the final attack of the first half when Parris broke through on goal and cooly slotted past Byrne.

SECOND HALF

The lively Parris went close to putting Everton ahead just after the break when she dispossessed Mitchell but this time Byrne was equal to her curling effort.

The Gunners were then denied a clear penalty when Williamson was tripped by Brown-Finnis in the box but the referee elected to wave play on. The Everton stopper had to be replaced by Megan Walsh as a result of the clash.

Bayer's side started to regain control and twice went close in a matter of minutes when Williamson curled over before Nobbs crashed a shot off the bar.

Everton were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute after Kinga was adjudged to have handled in the box. Hinnigan stepped up but Byrne denied the midfielder with an excellent stop.

Arsenal continued to throw players forward and pepper the Everton goal in search of a winner. Carter's shot was deflected wide before Yankey's pinpoint cross found Kinga who headed over when she should have hit the target.

With six minutes to go, substitute Smith wriggled into space before her shot was parried by Walsh but Scott was on hand to convert the rebound and secure a crucial three points for the Gunners.

Arsenal Ladies

1
Byrne
2
Fahey Yellow Card
3
Bailey
4
Scott Goal!
5
Mitchell 76 Yellow Card
6
Stoney Yellow Card
7
Nobbs
8
Kinga
9
Williamson
10
Yankey
11
Carter 85 Goal!

Substitutes

12
Chamberlain
13
Knaak 85
14
Murray
15
Ohno
16
Ayisi
17
Smith 76

Everton Ladies

1
Brown-Finnis 52
2
Greenwood
3
Chaplen
4
Jones
5
Johnson
6
Magill
7
Hinnigan
8
Whelan 11
9
Turner
10
Jones 89
11
Parris Goal! Yellow Card

Substitutes

12
Walsh 52
13
Davies 89
14
Williams
15
Kane
16
Whipp
17
George 11
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Isaac Moore 20 Jul 2014