By Max Jones at Meadow Park
Arsenal ended Chelsea’s unbeaten streak in the Continental Cup with a dominant display at Meadow Park on Sunday.
A Kelly Smith double and Shinobu Ohno’s second-half volley gave Arsenal their second win in Group One, as they closed the gap on leaders Chelsea.
SETTING THE SCENE
Emma Mitchell was the only absentee from the team that beat Liverpool 1-0 last week, as coach John Bayer opted for familiar faces in an attempt to continue Arsenal's winning run.
Before kick-off Arsenal sat third in Group One of the Continental Cup with three points, and were looking to respond to their last game in the competition, a 2-0 defeat against Reading in May.
Chelsea were flying high at the top of the group with nine points after winning all of their games and scoring 11 goals in the process.
Arsenal nearly got off to a perfect start when Leah Williamson’s first-minute free-kick found Ohno, but her volley was smothered by Marie Hourihan.
Then Smith latched onto a bouncing ball and let rip from 25 yards, forcing Hourihan into another fine save a minute later.
It took 14 minutes for Chelsea to threaten Emma Byrne’s goal, but Gilly Flaherty’s header from six yards flew harmlessly wide.
And after some tense exchanges, Chelsea sprang into life in the 38th minute. Ji So Yun unleashed a dipping 25-yard strike that Byrne spectacularly tipped onto the bar.
Rachel Williams gifted Arsenal a penalty four minutes later when she blatantly handled from the home side’s corner, and Smith smashed home from the spot.
Arsenal made a flying start to the second half and Danielle Carter stung Hourihan’s palms from 13 yards in the 46th minute.
After more high pressing from the home side, Smith won the ball in Chelsea’s box in the 74th minute and fed Ohno, who volleyed into the top corner.
There was still time for Smith to double her tally with eight minutes left, scoring directly from an inswinging corner to seal the victory.
Copyright 2018 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.