By Connor Armstrong
Arsenal Ladies returned to Women’s Super League action with a 2-0 win over Notts County on Sunday evening.After a tense first half with little by way of goalscoring opportunities, the Gunners burst into life and grabbed the lead when Asisat Oshoala rounded Megan Walsh before slotting in the opener.Emma Byrne was given her marching orders for a foul on former Gunner Ellen White in the second half, but Pedro Martinez Losa’s side responded well, finding the net just 10 minutes after the dismissal.Walsh failed to deal with a corner from Danielle van de Donk, losing her balance and dropping the ball over the line to give Arsenal a two-goal cushion which would see them claim all three points.
SETTING THE SCENE
Losa made a raft of changes for the trip to Meadow Lane. Byrne started in goal, with Casey Stoney deputising at right back and taking the captain’s armband, with Alex Scott on the bench.Josephine Henning made her first start for the Gunners since returning from Rio with a gold medal.
The opening 45 minutes won’t live too long in the memory of those present, but there were moments of promise as both sides hunted the all-important opening goal.Oshoala did well to take down a cross from Dan Carter, but fired narrowly wide of the far post.Stoney, deputising as captain in Scott’s absence, then lifted a cross towards the far post for Katie McCabe, but Dani Buet was on hand to scramble the ball away.Oshoala went close again just seconds before the whistle, charging past Notts County skipper Laura Bassett before stinging the palms of Walsh.
If the opening period was a touch underwhelming, then the second was an action-packed feast of football.Arsenal flew into an early lead when Oshoala timed her run well before taking the ball past Walsh and applying the finishing touch in the 47th minute.Losa’s side were reduced to 10 when Byrne was sent off for taking out White outside her penalty area with half an hour still left to play.If there were concerns that the Gunners’ lead may be under threat, they were soon washed away as the visitors established a two-goal lead within 10 minutes.Walsh was unable to keep Van de Donk’s corner out of the net amid pressure in the penalty area, seeing all three points return to north London.
Referee: Sarah Garratt
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