Post-Match Report

WSL: Arsenal 1-1 Notts County - Report

Casey Stoney

Notts County -

Women's Super League
Women's Super League
  Arsenal Women
      
                  Casey Stoney (9 pen)
            
   crest
Arsenal Women
Casey Stoney (9 pen)
1 1
  Notts County
      
              0 (87)
          
   crest
Notts County
0 (87)

By Isaac Moore at Meadow Park

SUMMARY

Arsenal Ladies are still looking for their first league home win of the season after they conceded a late equaliser to Notts County on Sunday afternoon.

Casey Stoney's ninth-minute penalty gave Arsenal an early lead in a dominant first-half display but County responded well after the break and equalised after 87 minutes when Fiona O'Sullivan volleyed past Emma Byrne.

The point was enough to move Arsenal above Bristol Academy and into the top five but they were left frustrated after conceding so late on.

SETTING THE SCENE

John Bayer was forced to make a late change to his team after Kelly Smith failed a fitness test in the warm up - German midfielder Turid Knaak took her place.

Elsewhere, Shinobu Ohno returned to the team in place of Jade Bailey who, along with Leah Williamson, was away with England Under-20s ahead of their World Cup campaign.

Arsenal's late win at Everton a week prior had taken them above Notts County and distanced themselves from the bottom of the table.

Arsenal were unlucky not to beat the Lady Magpies on the opening day of the season after spurning a host of chances late on.

The tight nature of this season's WSL means the Gunners still harboured hopes of a top-two finish and a Champions League spot at the halfway point of the league campaign. But the Gunners had yet to register a point at home so three points were essential to keep pace with the teams above them.

FIRST HALF

The hosts' afternoon got off to the perfect start after nine minutes. The persistence of Danielle Carter robbed Amy Turner of possession, the County left-back tugged Carter back, giving Joshua Smith no choice but to award a penalty. In the absence of Smith, Stoney stepped up and calmly sent Carly Telford the wrong way.

Arsenal were good value for their early lead, with inventive duo Jordan Nobbs and Knaak pulling the strings in midfield. In the 32nd minute, Nobbs' clever reverse pass set free Alex Scott but the Arsenal skipper shot tamely at Telford.

Two minutes later, Stoney came close to scoring her second when she glanced over from Yankey's corner.

Notts County's physical approach made it difficult for Arsenal at times during the first half but the visitors rarely threatened and the Gunners deserved their half-time lead.

SECOND HALF

The visitors were quickest out the blocks after the restart and almost levelled when Caitlin Friend beat Emma Mitchell to the ball but Stoney made a superb covering tackle to spare her team-mate's blushes.

County continued to pile on the pressure with Desiree Scott blazing over and O'Sullivan seeing a low header saved by Emma Byrne.

On 65 minutes, Ohno sprung clear down the right-hand side but couldn't find Carter with her cross and the ball fell to Nobbs 20 yards out but the England midfielder volleyed harmlessly wide.

Arsenal should have sealed the three points with 15 minutes remaining. Substitute Freda Ayisi showed superb hold up play before setting free Nobbs. The midfielder composed herself but fired wide of the target.

Rick Passmoor's side threw players forward in search of an equaliser in the last five minutes and they found one when Arsenal failed to clear a long ball and O'Sullivan's snap volley flew past Byrne into the bottom corner.