England star Kelly Smith stole the show with a hat-trick as
Arsenal drew with London rivals Charlton Athletic in a six-goal
The hosts shocked Arsenal with two goals inside 10 minutes
through Sarah Snare and the first of two stunning strikes from
Eniola Aluko. The Addicks then should have extended their lead
before half-time but some wasteful finishing saved the visitors and
gave them a chance to regroup.
Arsenal made a perfect start to the second half when England
midfielder Smith slid the ball past helpless Addicks goalkeeper
Pauline Cope and opened her account for the evening.
Soon after though, Charlton had restored their two-goal
advantage when Aluko scored her second stunning long-distance
strike of the game.
Yet Arsenal were soon back into the game. They were awarded a
penalty after Smith was brought down by the slightly unlucky Karen
Hills. Smith duly converted the spot-kick to set up an exhilarating
finish to a superb match.
Just two minutes later, Charlton were reduced to 10 players
following the dismissal of Emma Coss for elbowing Gemma Davison
during a tussle in midfield.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Smith completed her hat-trick
with a sublime solo effort and, in doing so, gained Arsenal a
hard-earned point in a game which Charlton will argue they deserved
After the final whistle of this dramatic top-of-the-table
encounter, hat-trick hero Smith said: "We are delighted that
we have pulled a point back, but our first-half performance was
simply not good enough."
The draw means that Charlton top the league, one point ahead of
Everton in second. Arsenal, meanwhile, are in fourth place but they
do have two games in hand over their London rivals.
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