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Women's Football News
Arsenal 3 (Yankey 65, Carter 73,83) Chelsea 0
Substitute Danielle Carter scored two superb goals as Arsenal kept up their pursuit of FA WSL table toppers Birmingham City with victory over local rivals Chelsea.
However the scoreline did not reflect a game in which Chelsea more than matched the Gunners until Carter's introduction just after the hour mark. To add to Chelsea's woes, they lost England full back Claire Rafferty with what is feared to be a serious knee injury.
Chelsea started brightly and could well have taken the lead in the second minute of play. Rafferty tricked her way past Ellen White on the left and crossed for Kate Longhurst whose header came back off the post. The rebound fell for Ashlee Hincks but her shot was blocked on the line by Niamh Fahey.
Arsenal were finding it hard to get going and could only muster a shot from outside the area by Kim Little, which flew straight at Carly Telford. The Gunners' distribution, normally so reliable, often went astray and a number of moves broke down but a good combination between White and Little on the right saw Jordan Nobbs cross for Julie Fleeting whose volley was saved by Telford.
Nobbs made a strong run down the left and cut in before her effort was blocked by Kylie Davies. The ball rebounded into the path of Fahey whose powerful strike was parried away by Telford.
There was a scare at the other end as Emma Byrne's clearance was charged down by Helen Lander but the keeper was able to gather the loose ball before the Welsh international could capitalise.
Hincks sent a shot wide as Chelsea continued to look sharp in the first half whilst the impressive Gemma Bonner halted White at the other end with a superbly timed tackle. Chelsea looked strong at the back and, with Leanne Champ and Drew Spence making biting challenges in front of them, restricted Arsenal to few opportunities before the break.
However Chelsea were dealt a huge blow as Rafferty appeared to turn awkwardly and went down injured on the stroke of half time. The England international left the pitch in agony with a suspected knee ligament injury and Naomi Cole came on as a half time substitute.
Chelsea also started the second half well and a good run down the right by Dani Buet saw her cross met with a looping effort from Hincks which was saved by Byrne. Lander then got in behind the Arsenal defence and Byrne again came to the rescue as she turned her shot past the post.
Arsenal replied with a Steph Houghton centre picking out Fleeting whose header was saved by Telford, but the arrival of Carter signalled an upturn in fortunes.
Three minutes later, Nobbs played a superb defence splitting pass into the path of Rachel Yankey and the winger took her time before drilling a low shot which took a slight deflection of Davies and past Telford to put her side in front.
Arsenal were looking a different side now and almost went two ahead as a deep free kick by Yankey was headed against the outside of the post by Katie Chapman.
The second goal was not too long in coming and it came via one of the strikes of the season. Little nipped in to win the ball from Hayley Moorwood and dribbled past two players on her way into the area where her shot was blocked by Bonner and into the path of Carter who unleashed a fierce half volley which arrowed into the far top corner of the net, giving Telford no chance.
A free kick on the left led to another goal for the Gunners, Little floated her kick into the area and Telford came out to punch clear, but only as far as Carter who drove a firm 25-yard shot into the net for her second goal.
Emma Plewa was unlucky not to grab a consolation for Chelsea as she latched onto a Laura Coombs pass before her shot was saved by Byrne. Arsenal were rampant now though, in contrast to the opening hour, and substitute Jayne Ludlow went close with a header from Little's cross.
Arsenal were comfortable winners in the end but had been made to work very hard by a luckless Chelsea side who deserved a little better on the night.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Niamh Fahey, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White (sub Jayne Ludlow 74mins), Julie Fleeting (sub Danielle Carter 62mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Faye White, Rebecca Spencer.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Dani Buet, Claire Rafferty (sub Naomi Cole 45mins), Drew Spence (sub Laura Coombs 62mins), Gemma Bonner, Kylie Davies, Ashlee Hincks (sub Emma Plewa 77mins), Leanne Champ, Kate Longhurst, Helen Lander, Hayley Moorwood. Subs not used: Sarah Quantrill, Shelby Hills.
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