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Arsenal 4 (Fleeting 21, Little 39,80, Carter 40) Lincoln Ladies 0
Arsenal closed in on WSL leaders Birmingham City ahead of their meeting on Sunday with a comprehensive 4-0 win over a disappointing Lincoln team who failed to match their improved form since the mid-season break.
Three fine goals lit up the match, two in two minutes near half time sealing the outcome and, but for a fine display by Nicola Hobbs in the Lady Imps goal, the scoreline could have been much worse for the visitors.
Hobbs was first in action catching a Niamh Fahey cross under pressure then pushing away a Rachel Yankey shot from close range. With Lincoln offering little up front it was no surprise that the Gunners continued to create chances. Danielle Carter shot over before Julie Fleeting gave them a 21st minute lead, nodding in after Jayne Ludlow had headed a far post Kim Little corner back across goal.
Two more fine Hobbs saves kept Arsenal at bay, firstly after Carter had sped past two defenders then, even better, from a powerful Ludlow header. Lincoln briefly threatened from a Jess Clarke cross and then an opening for Jodie Taylor who hesitated and was crowded out by three defenders.
Within five minutes Arsenal were out of sight with a pair of excellent finishes. Firstly Little drifted past one defender and shot right footed past Hobbs, then Carter buried a thunderous 20-yard volley on 40 minutes, her third stunning strike at Meadow Park in a week.
The second half was something of an anti-climax as Lincoln sought to keep the score respectable and limited Arsenal to long range efforts whilst being totally unable to threaten Emma Byrne's goal until added time with a header.
By then, Little had added another stunning 20-yard finish after a run from midfield on eighty minutes to equal the biggest winning margin in the WSL to date.
The WSL is set for an exciting finish with injury hit leaders Birmingham City's defeat against Everton and this Arsenal win which means they could go top with a win at Stratford on Sunday. The league is competitive enough, however, to suggest that none of the title contenders can take any opponent for granted, despite the one sided nature of this particular match.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Niamh Fahey (sub Faye White 61mins), Jayne Ludlow, Ciara Grant, Gilly Flaherty, Danielle Carter, Kim Little, Julie Fleeting (sub Ellen White 67mins), Katie Chapman (sub Jordan Nobbs 80mins), Yankey.
Lincoln Ladies: Nicola Hobbs, Mel Sutcliffe, Rachel Daly, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Lucy Staniforth, Megan Harris, Sue Smith, Jodie Taylor (sub Sophie Barker 64mins), Remi Allen (sub Bonnie Horwood 74mins), Jess Clarke.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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