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Lincoln Ladies 0 Arsenal 2 (Nobbs 27, White 35)
Arsenal gave a fine response to their home defeat by Birmingham City with a comfortable 2-0 win at Lincoln on Wednesday evening.
After nearly going behind early on, the Gunners dominated the rest of the match with an impressive display of movement and passing which could have doubled the margin of victory. Lincoln only threatened in the final ten minutes as they completed a third home game without a goal in front of a large and supportive crowd
The match started without many attempts on goal at either end on a hard, bumpy surface. Ellen White guided a header straight into Nicola Hobbs' hands on eight minutes but the first serious pressure came from two corners from the home side around 25 minutes. Emma Byrne scrambled the first away under severe pressure and then Sue Smith's inswinging delivery from the right hit the bar.
Arsenal took the lead within three minutes, a spell of concerted pressure finishing with Kim Little setting up Jordan Nobbs who lofted a fine 20-yard right footed drive over Hobbs. A minute later, White
nearly added a second shooting just wide when Rachel Yankey cut back a Danielle Carter cross.
White made no mistake on 38 minutes with a lobbed finish from the edge of the area when sent clear on the right. Little and Nobbs both had efforts on goal as the Gunners ended the half in complete control.
Lincoln sent on Leandra Little to play up front at the break to try and disturb the serenity of the Arsenal back four but the away team maintained their dominance with Kim Little, Katie Chapman and Nobbs, who was outstanding throughout, totally dominating midfield, whilst White, Carter and Rachel Yankey were always theatening up front.
Kim Lttle was just wide from a Yankey cross, then she was denied by a fine Hobbs tip over on 53 minutes. The Scottish international went close again on 61 minutes and her compatriot Jennifer Beattie was denied by a Mel Sutcliffe clearance off the line on 71 minutes. Carter hit the bar with
a powerful drive from twenty yards two minutes later as the Gunners gave a delightful display of crisp one touch passing and intelligent movement around the final third of the pitch.
Lincoln never gave up and finally gave the crowd something to cheer with a Sophie Walton shot just wide on 81 minutes and an even better Leandra Little strike which had Byrne scrambling across her goal a minute later.
Lincoln Ladies provoided a great variety of facilities for fans of all ages at the ground and a crowd of 581 were well catered for. Lincoln lacked the power to threaten apart from with long throws from Sophie Bradley and corners or free kicks. Arsenal will only regret that they did not further boost their goal difference from the numerous chances they created.
Lincoln Ladies: Nicola Hobbs, Mel Sutcliffe, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Rachel Daly, Bonnie Horwood (sub Megan Harris 73mins), Lucy Staniforth, Sophie Walton, Stacey Aisthorpe (sub Leandra Little 45mins), Jess Clarke, Sue Smith (sub Sophie Barker 73mins). Subs not used: Kay Hawke, Carla Cantrell.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Jennifer Beattie, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Niamh Fahey, Katie Chapman, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Danielle Carter, Ellen White, Rachel Yankey (sub Steph Houghton 83mins). Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Laura Coombs, Lauren Bruton, Rebecca Spencer.
(Report by Patrick Higgins - Photo: MikeGaffneyPhotography.co.uk Tel: 0751 466 2940)
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