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Arsenal 1 (Little 53) Everton 0
Arsenal went top of the FA WSL for the first time this season as Kim Little's clinical strike gave them all three points against Everton.
The Scottish ace bagged her ninth goal of the campaign but Arsenal were also indebted to goalkeeper Emma Byrne who pulled off a brilliant reaction save to help them to the victory they craved.
Both teams found it difficult to settle on a greasy surface which had stood up well to torrential rain all day but there was an early scare for Everton as Little's through ball released Danielle Carter on goal but Rachel Brown rushed out and managed to avert the danger.
Carter then went close to a firm strike but chances were few in the first half as Everton kept things tight at the back, with Brooke Chaplen playing a holding role in midfield.
The game burst into life just ahead of the interval, firstly Everton produced their first meaningful effort on goal when Rachel Unitt shot wide following a Fara Williams free kick. Arsenal responded with long range efforts from Rachel Yankey and Little which were well dealt with by Brown.
Arsenal started the second half strongly and Katie Chapman went close as she beat Brown to the ball from a Little free kick but her header looped just over the bar.
Eight minutes after the restart, a long ball out of defence from Ciara Grant was controlled by Little, who worked herself some space on the edge of the area before drilling a low shot beyond the dive of Brown and into the corner of the net to put the Gunners ahead.
Little was heavily involved as Arsenal went close again minutes later, her slide rule pass found Gilly Flaherty on the right hand side and the full back's cross was fractionally too high for Julie Fleeting at the far post.
At the other end, Gwennan Harries threatened as she cut in from the left before driving a shot wide but, with Chapman in superb form in midfield, Arsenal continued to call the shots at this stage and, after intercepting a Jill Scott pass, Fleeting sent Yankey through on goal but she was denied by a superb saving tackle from Lindsay Johnson.
Everton went back on the attack and thought they had equalised from a corner. Williams' kick was headed on by Scott and Natasha Dowie's strike from six yards looked goalbound but Byrne reacted brilliantly to somehow parry the effort and keep her side in front.
With Everton committing themselves further forward, more gaps were appearing at the back and they were almost unlocked by a good Arsenal move. Niamh Fahey played the ball in to Fleeting whose lay off found Little, who carried the ball into the area but for once her goalscoring instincts deserted her as she lifted her shot over the bar.
Williams forced a save from Byrne as she latched onto Toni Duggan's pass and Everton pressed for an equaliser in the dying minutes but, despite winning a number of corners, could not find a way through a well drilled Arsenal defence in which Faye White was at her best.
Arsenal therefore need victory at Liverpool in their final match of the season in order to be confirmed as inaugural winners of the FA WSL.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Gilly Flaherty (sub Steph Houghton 77mins), Niamh Fahey, Jayne Ludlow, Ciara Grant, Faye White, Danielle Carter (sub Ellen White 58mins), Kim Little, Julie Fleeting (sub Jennifer Beattie 74mins), Katie Chapman, Rachel Yankey.
Everton: Rachel Brown, Becky Easton (sub Lucy Bronze 77mins), Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams, Fern Whelan, Lindsay Johnson, Gwennan Harries, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie, Brooke Chaplen, Toni Duggan (sub Michelle Hinnigan 84mins).
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