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Arsenal 4 (Chapman 19,21, White 86,90) Liverpool 1 (Brusell 65)
Arsenal moved to within one point of retaining the FA WSL title as two late Ellen White goals secured victory in wet and cold conditions at Boreham Wood.
The Gunners laboured to victory in an often disjointed performance against an improving Liverpool side which came close to returning home being rewarded for their efforts.
Although having much the greater of possession, Arsenal did not threaten too much during the early stages apart from a Steph Houghton header which was just off target from a Rachel Yankey corner.
However on 19 minutes. Gemma Davison threaded a neat pass into the path of White whose shot was saved at the near post by Sarah Quantrill. Yankey swung in the resulting corner and Katie Chapman rose highest to power in a downward header to put her side into the lead.
Before Liverpool could recover, they found themselves two goals behind. Houghton's pass was laid off by White into the path of the oncoming Chapman who gave Quantrill no chance with a rasping shot which found the roof of the net.
At this stage of the game, it looked as though Liverpool would be buried under an avalanche of goals as Arsenal piled on the pressure. White forced another save from Quantrill after being set up by Yankey and the Liverpool keeper made another fine stop, this time from Jordan Nobbs after she had exchanged passes with Yankey.
Yankey herself then went close with a strike from 15 yards which hit the outside of the post and Nobbs then struck the bar following good work from White.
Liverpool weathered the storm without any further damage and produced their own best effort so far, Lillie Billson breaking into the area where her shot was saved by Emma Byrne. Liverpool retrieved the ball from the rebound with Emily Gielnik trying her luck from 20 yards but her effort flew over the bar.
Chapman went close to a hat-trick goal as she got on the end of a deep cross by Davison but this time her header was just wide. Liverpool hit back straight away with Kelly Jones driving a shot inches over the bar as the first half ended more evenly.
Chapman fired a shot over the bar in the opening minute of the second half and a combination of Kim Little and Nobbs set up Jayne Ludlow whose flick was deflected just wide.
However Arsenal were finding it hard to get going after the break and their passing was uncharacteristically wayward with possession regularly being given away. White brought out a save from Quantrill after latching onto Little's pass but they otherwise struggled to get through a Liverpool side now growing in confidence and given extra impetus by the introduction of Hannah Keryakoplis up front.
Chloe Jones floated a cross into the Arsenal area which was headed away as far as Katie Brusell who beat Byrne with a well struck dipping shot from 25 yards and Liverpool were now back in the game.
Five minutes later and Matt Beard's side had a great chance to draw level. Keryakoplis intercepted a poor clearance from Byrne and got past Ciara Grant on the edge of the area but Byrne atoned for her error by standing tall and blocking the young striker's shot with her right hand.
Arsenal hit back straight away with Danielle Carter cutting in from the left and unleashing a fierce shot which was touched over by Quantrill. The resulting corner, taken by Little, picked out Chapman whose header hit the bar.
The momentum was back with Arsenal again as they finally began to find their pattern but were finding it hard to get through Liverpool's excellent central defensive duo Vicky Jones and Sam Chappell.
However with four minutes remaining, Liverpool's resistance was broken through clever work on the left by Little, who turned past her marker and got to the line before clipping a cross to the far post where White was on hand to steer the ball home.
Liverpool could still have replied moments later when a Sophia Riccio free kick was headed away by Ludlow as far as Sophie Jones whose volley was inches wide of the far post. Back came Arsenal with Jennifer Beattie challenging Quantrill from a Houghton cross and Kelly Jones initially stopped the ball on the line before bravely charging down a shot from Carter.
Two minutes into injury time, Arsenal rounded off the win with a fourth goal. Houghton's pass picked out Little who combined with Chapman to set up the chance for White to sweep the ball home from ten yards.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Niamh Fahey, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison (sub Jayne Ludlow 53mins), Jordan Nobbs (sub Jennifer Beattie 82mins), Ellen White, Kim Little, Rachel Yankey (sub Danielle Carter 45mins). Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Alex Scott, Sophie Harris.
Liverpool: Sarah Quantrill, Sam Chappell, Vicky Jones, Lizzie Ince, Nicky Harding (sub Cheryl Foster 78mins), Sophia Riccio, Katie Brusell, Chloe Jones, Lillie Billson (sub Sophie Jones 82mins), Kelly Jones, Emily Gielnik (sub Hannah Keryakoplis 56mins). Subs not used: Aroon Clansey, Aime Flemming, Caroline Charlton.
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