Joe Montemurro’s final game as head coach will certainly go down as a memorable one, as we beat Crystal Palace 9-0 to finish our season and reach the quarter-finals of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
Our head coach will depart north London with an outstanding record of 85 wins in 108 games - and this was yet another thrilling attacking performance that we’ve come to expect during his time at the club.
There was plenty of positive news in our starting XI too, as Steph Catley made her first start since returning from injury, while Anna Patten was included at the heart of our defence.
We made a fast start at Meadow Park and took the lead after just six minutes. Jordan Nobbs received the ball with her back to goal and beat her marker with an improvised flick, forcing a foul from the defender and winning a penalty. Kim Little stepped up and made no mistake in finding the bottom corner.
Chloe Morgan then went on to make a number of impressive saves, denying Caitlin Foord and Nobbs, before Beth Mead broke free down the right wing and fired back across the keeper to double our advantage.
Danielle van de Donk made it three with just seconds remaining of the first half, applying the finishing touch to a slick counter-attacking move.
We stepped things up a gear in the second half too and after a fortunate bounce on the edge of the area, the ball dropped to Noelle Maritz who unleashed a powerful strike into the bottom corner for her first Arsenal goal.
Nobbs made it five with a thumping finish following some fine footwork from Foord, before the substitutes combined as Vivianne Miedema latched on to Jill Roord’s delivery to head home at the far post.
As we approached the final five minutes we could have easily dropped off and maintained possession without purpose, but that’s never been the Montemurro way.
After announcing her departure to Wolfsburg last week, Roord put her name on the scoresheet as an Arsenal player just one last time, firing home from close range, before Maritz scored her second of the afternoon, applying the all-important touch at the end of a smart team move.
We weren’t done there, though, and with just seconds remaining, Katie McCabe stood over a free-kick from 20 yards and rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
It was an outstanding team performance from start to finish - and the perfect send off for our head coach.
Our players will now break up for the summer ahead of the Olympics, before returning to prepare for the 2021/22 season.
The quarter-finals of the competition will be played on Wednesday, September 29.
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