Despite a spirited performance and a fine goal from Beth Mead, we suffered late heartbreak at Meadow Park on Sunday as we drew 1-1 against Chelsea.
Academy stars Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy started at the back and defended admirably throughout, but it was the latter who unfortunately deflected the ball into her own net deep into stoppage time.
With both sides knowing the importance of this clash, the opening 30 minutes proved to be a tightly-contested affair with plenty of battles in the midfield.
But after a calm and composed performance, we surged forward on the stroke of half-time and created a golden opportunity. With Chelsea exposed, Caitlin Foord created a yard of space on the edge of the area and fired at goal, only to see her curling effort bounce off the bar - not once, but twice!
Lacking their usual threat in the final third, Emma Hayes introduced Sam Kerr after the interval and the visitors went on to create a number of chances.
First, Beth England fired wide from a dangerous position inside the penalty area, before Williamson displayed outstanding bravery to stand her ground and block Pernille Harder’s goal-bound effort.
We continued to push on, though, and after creating a number of half-chances in transition, we broke the deadlock with just four minutes to play. Vivianne Miedema squared up to Millie Bright and burned past her on the wing, before delivering an inch-perfect pass for Mead to convert at the far post.
We looked set to seal three valuable - and deserved - points that would have taken us top of the WSL table, but a late cross from Harder deflected off Wubben-Moy and looped over Manuela Zinsberger into the back of the net.
WHAT IT MEANS
Up next, we will face Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup on Wednesday, November 18.
The game will be played at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7.30pm (UK time).
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.