By Max Jones at Meadow Lane
Chioma Ubogagu salvaged a point with a late strike on her debut as Arsenal Ladies drew 1-1 against Notts County on Thursday.
It was a fair result on the night for the Gunners, who recovered from a frustrating first half with a dominant performance after the break.
Former Gunner Ellen White proved to be the thorn in Arsenal’s side through, smashing home a clever free-kick routine before sending a penalty wide.
But Arsenal came into the game more in a fiercely contested second half and were rewarded when Ubogagu found the corner with a 20-yard half-volley.
SETTING THE SCENE
Pedro Martinez Losa made one change to the side that beat Millwall Lionesses 7-0 in the fifth round of the FA Women’s Cup.
Caroline Weir came in for Carla Humphrey to make her first start of the season, while there was also a welcome return to Kelly Smith who began the game on the bench with new signing Ubugagu.
Danielle Carter retained her place in Arsenal’s free-flowing front line after her hat-trick at The Den alongside Lianne Sanderson and Natalia Pablos Sanchon.
Elsewhere, Casey Stoney and Jemma Rose continued their new-look centre-back partnership but would face a tougher task against the clinical White.
Arsenal came into the match with plenty of confidence and looked to be sharper in the opening exchanges. First Alex Scott swung in a dangerous cross before Carly Telford held on to Sanderson’s clever backheeled volley.
County soon got a foothold in the game, though, and Dani Buet’s deep free-kick caused Emma Byrne problems, but fortunately for the goalkeeper it crept just wide of the far post.
The Gunners were under pressure and the hosts did not have to wait much longer for the breakthrough. Rachel Williams was fouled on the edge of the box and, after a clever free-kick routine, White found the bottom corner with a fierce strike.
County and White had the opportunity to make it two before half-time but the forward failed to convert her penalty, smashing well wide of Byrne’s right-hand post.
Arsenal started the second half with purpose and nearly equalised when Natalia flicked on Vicky Losada’s corner but Stoney could not stretch far enough to connect at the far post.
The home side countered straight away. White raced onto Sophie Walton’s long ball before bringing it down and smashing a half-volley just wide.
Ubogagu was handed her Arsenal debut on the hour mark and almost made an immediate impact when she spun away from her marker on the edge of the box and curled towards the far post, but Telford was equal to her effort.
But the substitute soon left her mark with four minutes remaining. The young striker collected the ball 20 yards from goal and fired an unstoppable half-volley past Telford to secure a valuable point for her new team.
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