Post-Match Report

Arsenal Ladies 0-2 Birmingham - Report

Birmingham City Women -

Barclays FA Women's Super League
Barclays FA Women's Super League
  Arsenal Women
   crest
Arsenal Women
0 2
  Birmingham City Women
      
              Kirsty Linnett (49
               60)
          
   crest
Birmingham City Women
Kirsty Linnett (49 60)

By Isaac Moore

SUMMARY

Arsenal Ladies' faltering start to the league campaign continued with a 2-0 defeat at home to Birmingham on Wednesday.

Kirsty Linnett's second-half brace condemned the Gunners to a second straight defeat in the WSL.

Arsenal had lots of possession but rarely tested Birmingham goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and were well beaten in the end.

SETTING THE SCENE

Wednesday night was the fourth time the sides had met this season. David Parker's side came out on top in the Champions League last-16 tie in early spring but the Gunners came from behind to knock the Blues out of the FA Cup just over a fortnight ago.

Shelley Kerr made two changes from Sunday's defeat to Manchester City. Freda Ayisi was preferred to Rachel Yankey in midfield.

Arsenal's league campaign had begun with one point from two games, leaving them in the unfamiliar position of propping up the WSL.

The Blues knew victory would take them to the summit after they took four points from their opening two fixtures.

FIRST HALF

The game started with Arsenal trying to control possession, but Birmingham were well organised and denied the home side the early goal they craved.

Clear-cut opportunities were few and far between in the opening exchanges until the 16th minute when Leah Williamson's misplaced pass let in Linnett, whose low shot was saved by Emma Byrne.

Five minutes layer, Ayisi showed neat footwork on a driving run to work herself some space, but could only steer her effort wide.

In the 36th minute, Jade Moore's cross from the right fell to Remi Allen, whose hooked effort looked destined for the corner. Byrne scrambled across to push the ball away.

Arsenal's best chance came three minutes before the break when Kelly Smith's dipping effort from distance was tipped over by Spencer.

SECOND HALF

The second period got off to the worst possible start for Arsenal when Williamson's slip gifted Linnett the freedom of the penalty box and she calmly rounded Byrne and slotted into the bottom corner.

Birmingham could have been two up five minutes later but Allen's cute finish was ruled out for offside.

But the Blues did double their lead on the hour mark. Karen Carney shifted the ball to Allen, who slid through Linnett, and the forward beat Byrne to the ball to poke home home her second.

Danielle Carter couldn't adjust her feet in time to finish from close range and the substitute tried her luck from distance to no avail.

In the end, a disappointing night for Kerr's side. They have the chance to register their first three points of the season when they host Bristol Academy on Sunday.

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