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Women's Football News
Arsenal 3 (Cunningham og 16, Oxtoby og 32, Smith 81) Doncaster Rovers Belles 2 (O'Gorman 20, Little 88)
It was a day of celebration for Arsenal as they were presented with the FA WSL trophy following a rather bizarre game in which Doncaster Rovers Belles actually scored four of the five goals.
The news that Birmingham City had drawn 2-2 with Bristol Academy filtered through before kick off, meaning that Laura Harvey's side were confirmed as Champions before kick off.
This inevitably took some of the gloss and the edge off the match and the opening exchanges were evenly contested until the 16th minute when Arsenal took the lead. Danielle Carter played a neat pass into the path of Ellen White who drove the ball across goal and a late bobble ensured that Lyndsey Cunningham's clearance only found the top corner of her own net.
However four minutes later the visitors conjured up a spectacular equaliser. Aine O'Gorman received the ball just inside the Arsenal half and cut in from the left before unleashing a 35-yard strike which found the top corner of the net, giving Emma Byrne no chance.
The Belles were competing well and fully deserved to be on level terms but disaster was to strike for the visitors just after the half hour. Gemma Davison made a typically pacey run down the right and crossed but Tanya Oxtoby, who was not under great pressure, headed in off the underside of the bar to hand the Gunners a second own goal.
Arsenal tried to press home their advantage with Little volleying narrowly over from Jordan Nobbs' pass and White latched onto a loose ball and tried to round Mary Earps but was denied by a good save from the Belles keeper. Doncaster still had their opportunities at the other end though, Jess Sigsworth going closest with a shot which was just wide.
Chances were scarce at either end at the start of the second half but Arsenal were soon to go very close. A good passing move culminated with Alex Scott sliding a pass into the path of Little who was unlucky to see her shot come back off the base of the post.
Steph Houghton, on as a second half substitute, forced a good near post save from Earps but there was a worrying moment for Arsenal at the other end when Gilly Flaherty landed awkwardly when colliding with Leandra Little whilst defending a free kick. Yvonne Tracy made a welcome appearance as a substitute but Flaherty left the field in obvious pain with a shoulder injury and her arm was put in a sling.
Kelly Smith came on as another substitute and struck a telling blow just a few minutes later. Little threaded a through ball into her path and Smith slotted a left foot shot past Earps and into the far corner of the net.
Doncaster did not give up and their efforts were rewarded when a long range shot from O'Gorman was spilled by Byrne and Leandra Little followed up to coolly tuck home the rebound and give her side renewed hope.
There were no further chances for the Belles though and it was Arsenal who went close to extending their lead in injury time, through the unlikely source of Tracy who drove a 25-yard shot narrowly wide.
It was just a matter of minutes though before Arsenal celebrations could properly begin and the squad received their trophy and medals after the final whistle to mark the club being crowned Champions of England for the ninth year in a row.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Jennifer Beattie (sub Steph Houghton 59mins), Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty (sub Yvonne Tracy 72mins), Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison (sub Kelly Smith 74mins), Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Kim Little, Danielle Carter. Subs not used: Sophie Harris, Jayne Ludlow, Niamh Fahey, Rachel Yankey.
Doncaster Rovers Belles: Mary Earps, Lyndsey Cunningham, Victoria Williams, Leandra Little, Tanya Oxtoby, Kasia Lipka, Jess Sigsworth, Millie Bright, Aine O'Gorman, Alyssa Lagonia, Beth England (sub Naomi Chadwick 70mins). Subs not used: Lucy Sowerby, Katie Holtham.
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