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Chelsea 2 (Houghton og 13, Buet pen 44)
Arsenal 4 (Little pen 8,83, Smith 72,80)
Kelly Smith came off the substitute's bench to score twice - including a vintage strike - and created another goal to help send Arsenal eight points clear at the top of the FA WSL.
However the Gunners had looked to be on their way towards their first league defeat of the season after Chelsea had deservedly led at the interval and twice went close to increasing their lead before Smith's second half intervention.
Arsenal did make a lively start to the game and it was Gemma Davison who created the first opportunity as she set up a chance for Kim Little to drive just wide.
Two minutes later, Rachel Yankey switched the play with an excellent crossfield pass to pick out Davison who was brought down in the area by Sophie Ingle for a penalty. Little stepped up to send Sarah Quantrill the wrong way from the spot and Arsenal were in the lead.
Chelsea responded well and were back on terms just five minutes later. After winning a corner on the left, Buet's kick skimmed off the top of Steph Houghton's head and past a wrong footed Emma Byrne for the equaliser.
Houghton almost made amends a minute later with a shot that was saved and then Jordan Nobbs slid a neat through ball into the path of Katie Chapman but she was also denied by Quantrill.
Chelsea then had a good chance to go in front as Helen Bleazard's pass released Kate Longhurst on goal. The striker held off Gilly Flaherty before her shot was half stopped by Byrne, who recovered just in time to pounce on the loose ball before Longhurst was able to force it home.
Davison saw a shot deflected wide at the other end but a now out-of-sorts Arsenal were struggling to make an impression and were unusually ponderous in possession while Chelsea grew in confidence. They again went close as Buet floated a free kick into the area and a back header by Dunia Susi looked destined for the back of the net before Byrne just managed to claw the ball away.
Arsenal did produce one good effort ahead of the break, Houghton's crossfield pass finding Yankey whose well struck shot was turned over the bar by Quantrill, but Chelsea's efforts brought reward on the stroke of half time. Bleazard threaded a pass into the area for Susi where she was upended by Flaherty and Buet confidently stroked home the resulting penalty to send her side ahead going into the interval.
Stung by their poor first half display, Arsenal came out strongly after the restart and Little went through on ball after latching on to a loose pass from Buet before being foiled by a good save from Quantrill. Chelsea were unable to clear the resulting corner and Jennifer Beattie rattled the bar with a thumping left foot shot from the edge of the area.
After starting the second half on the back foot, Chelsea settled down again and looked for a third goal. It almost came as Buet's corner was met by Gemma Bonner whose header was cleared off the line by Houghton. Susi and Drew Spence had shots charged down from another corner as Chelsea continued to look dangerous from set pieces.
Chelsea were to go even closer when Susi's shot was deflected into the path of Longhurst with only Byrne to beat but her shot came back off the post.
Beattie headed over from a Little free kick at the other end but Arsenal were to get the equaliser they craved moments later. Alex Scott sent a cross into the area and Smith nipped in to nod a looping header over Quantrill and register her first goal since re-signing for the Gunners.
The goal breathed new life into Arsenal, giving them fresh impetus and a moment's brilliance by Smith quickly put them back in front. After Little had made a strong run into the Chelsea half, Yankey fed Smith on the edge of the area where, despite the close attentions of Bonner, she turned sharply and drilled a firm shot into the far corner of the net.
Three minutes later, the result was put beyond doubt and this time Smith turned provider, sliding a pass into the path of Little who rounded Quantrill before tucking home her own second goal.
Chelsea still fought to try and salvage something from the game and it almost came from an inswinging Buet corner, but Smith was on hand to make a vital contribution at the other end, clearing at the near post under pressure.
Chelsea: Sarah Quantrill, Sophie Perry, Sophie Ingle, Drew Spence (sub Kylie Davies 90mins), Gemma Bonner, Victoria Williams, Helen Bleazard, Danni Buet, Kate Longhurst (sub Ashlee Hincks 77mins), Laura Coombs (sub Suzanne Lappin 77mins), Dunia Susi. Subs not used: Carly Telford, Helen Lander, Claire Rafferty.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Jennifer Beattie, Steph Houghton (sub Kelly Smith 55mins), Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison (sub Ellen White 79mins), Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little, Katie Chapman, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Sophie Harris, Yvonne Tracy, Bianca Bragg.
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