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Arsenal sweep into Final
 Women's Football News 3 Sep 2012
 
Arsenal sweep into Final - 3 Sep 2012 - Women's Football NewsBristol Academy 0
Arsenal 4 (Davison 39, Smith 69, Yankey 74, Beattie 80)

Arsenal set up a repeat of last year's Continental Cup Final with Birmingham City as they stormed to a 4-0 semi final victory over Bristol Academy at Stoke Gifford. 
 
The two teams had shared a 1-1 draw in the league four days earlier but the Gunners turned on a fine display on this occasion and proved too strong for the home side on the night.
 
Arsenal dominated possession during the early stages and went close as Rachel Yankey cut in from the right and curled a shot wide of the far post. Academy began to settle down and threaten themselves, Jessica Fishlock firing wide from the edge of the area and Nikki Watts doing well to work herself a chance in the area before her shot was blocked by Ciara Grant at the expense of a corner.
 
The Gunners hit on the break from the resulting kick and Kelly Smith slid a pass into the patch of Yankey whose shot was saved at the near post by Siobhan Chamberlain.
 
Steph Houghton went even closer as she headed a Yankey corner against the bar and, after a goalmouth scramble resulted, Grant's shot was blocked on the line by Alex Windell.
 
Arsenal continued to step up the pressure and Smith was next to go close, picking up a clearance from Chamberlain and returning her shot narrowly wide. Chamberlain then produced her best as she tipped a Houghton free kick over the bar at full stretch.
 
The pressure eventually told though and Arsenal went in front six minutes before half time. Kim Little floated in a corner on the left and although Chamberlain made a good punch, Gemma Davison buried a firm shot from the edge of the area to open the scoring.
 
Academy responded well to going behind and a good interception by Grace McCatty saw the defender carry the ball forward and set up Natasha Harding who drilled her shot just over the bar. Fishlock tried her luck from long range but was wide of the post and Arsenal took their lead into the interval.
 
Smith headed a Yankey cross wide early in the second half and the England striker also missed a good opportunity when blazing a shot over the bar following a good run and low cross from Little.
 
Academy began to throw players forward and had their best spell of the game as they desperately sought an equaliser. They created a great opportunity when a good passing move culminated with Laura Del Rio finding Harding in space in the area but the Welsh international was denied by a fine save from Emma Byrne.
 
Arsenal introduced Jordan Nobbs as a substitute and the youngster gave them fresh impetus in the centre with a fine display. Nobbs was quickly involved as she tumbled following a challenge by Fishlock just outside the area. The award of a free kick did look a little soft but Smith capitalised superbly by curling home an inch perfect shot over the wall and into the top corner of the net, giving Chamberlain no chance.
 
Before Academy were able to recover, they found themselves three goals down. A quick counter attack from a corner saw Davison speed through towards goal and although Fishlock initially did well to deny her as she got into the area, Davison was still able to drill a low cross for Yankey to force the ball home from six yards, despite Chamberlain's best efforts to keep it out.
 
Del Rio almost pulled a goal back with a dipping shot which landed on the roof of the net but Arsenal sensed more goals now and they went further ahead after Nobbs made a strong run towards the Academy area and found Jennifer Beattie who - having only come on two minutes earlier - produced a neat measured finish inside the far post.
 
Beattie headed over from a Little free kick as Arsenal closed the game out but perhaps the night was summed up for Academy in the dying minutes as Fishlock broke into the area and looked certain to score but was foiled by a brilliant save by Byrne who managed to touch the ball onto the inside of the post before going out for a corner.
 
On this evidence, Arsenal will take a lot of stopping if they are not to end up with two trophies at the end of the season. For Academy, three hard games in seven days caught up with them as they looked a tired side after the interval but they still have much to play for, with the runners-up spot in their sights. 
 
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Windell (sub Ellie Curson 75mins), Grace McCatty, Angharad James, Corinne Yorston, Jemma Rose, Laura Del Rio Garcia, Natasha Harding (sub Rhian Cleverly 90mins), Nikki Watts, Jessica Fishlock, Melissa Lawley (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 82mins). Subs not used: Rachel Simkin, Jaz Matthews, Ellie Leek.

Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Niamh Fahey, Jayne Ludlow (sub Jordan Nobbs 60mins), Ciara Grant, Steph Houghton, Gemma Davison (sub Ellen White 80mins), Katie Chapman, Kelly Smith (sub Jennifer Beattie 78mins), Kim Little, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Bianca Bragg, Sophie Harris.

 
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