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Women's Football News
Liverpool 1 (Brusell 61)
Arsenal 3 (Yankey 9,36, Little pen 74)
The name and structure of the league may change but it has produced the same outcome again as Arsenal clinched yet another league title at Skelmersdale.
The Gunners went into the match needing a victory to ensure being crowned as the inaugural FA WSL Champions and, despite never being at their best, duly did so with a 3-1 victory over a battling Liverpool side.
Arsenal looked a little cautious in the early stages as they settled themselves down and it was Liverpool who had the first attempt on goal as Michelle Evans fired a free kick narrowly wide.
Barely a minute later though, Arsenal had the goal they craved as Danielle Carter fed Rachel Yankey on left and the winger raced into the area before unleashing a powerful shot which flashed inside the near post, beating goalkeeper Danielle Gibbons for speed.
Arsenal began to confidently pass the ball around and won a series of corners, going close when Jayne Ludlow's header was deflected just over. Carter, playing as a central striker, was looking particularly sharp in the first half and she produced a well struck 20-yard effort which was held by Gibbons.
Liverpool were relying mainly on counter attacks but Gemma Watson was showing up well out wide and Kelly Jones was driving forward at every opportunity. Katie Brusell did well to escape the attentions of Niamh Fahey before driving her shot across the face of goal.
Yankey conjured up another powerful strike from 25 yards which flew inches over but the winger was not to denied a second goal on 36 minutes. Kim Little's pass released Ellen White down the right and she whipped in a cross which Yankey neatly flicked past Gibbons and inside the far post to double Arsenal's lead.
A long ball from Ciara Grant almost led to a third; a superb first touch from Ludlow gave her the space to get in a shot but Gibbons foiled her with an excellent save.
Yankey was close to a hat-trick goal early in the second half but Ellen White's cross was just too high for her to head home. Arsenal continued to press but could not get the final pass right and a number of good opportunities went begging.
Just after the hour mark, Liverpool were back in the game as Evans played a free kick into the area, Emma Byrne and Faye White collided as they tried to clear and Brusell was on hand to coolly tuck the loose ball into the net.
Arsenal went back on the attack with a good pass from Steph Houghton finding Carter on the right, where she cut in before curling a left foot shot just past the far post. Moments later a deep cross from Yankey picked out Ellen White whose header hit the side netting.
Any Arsenal nerves were finally dispelled with sixteen minutes remaining as Ellen White won the ball from Emma Jones in the area before being pulled down by the defender. Little stepped up to take the resulting penalty and emphatically found the top corner of the net to restore the two-goal lead.
Liverpool never gave up and continued to work hard but the chances were still being created by Arsenal. They were halted by a number of very tight offside decisions but one good move almost led to a fourth as Yankey, Little and Jordan Nobbs all combined to find Ellen White whose shot was just wide. Steph Houghton headed a Little corner over from close range but minutes later, Arsenal celebrations could finally begin as the final whistle sounded and they were Champions once more.
Liverpool: Danielle Gibbons, Sam Chappell, Vicky Jones, Emma Jones, Nicky Twohig, Gemma Watson (sub Cheryl Foster 71mins), Katie Brusell (sub Nicki Harding 87mins), Lynda Shepherd (sub Chloe Jones 71mins), Michelle Evans, Kelly Jones, Suzanne Lappin. Subs not used: Beth Bailey, Caroline Charlton.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Gilly Flaherty (sub Steph Houghton 56mins), Niamh Fahey, Jayne Ludlow, Ciara Grant, Faye White, Danielle Carter (sub Jordan Nobbs 75mins), Kim Little, Ellen White, Katie Chapman, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Yvonne Tracy, Jennifer Beattie.
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