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Women's Football News
Liverpool 1 (Dowie 45) Arsenal 2 (White 25, Little 52)
Arsenal are through to the F.A.Women's Cup Final once again after getting the better of Liverpool's new look side at Anfield.
The win was no more than the Gunners deserved following a commanding performance in which midfielders Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs excelled in front of a crowd of 2,008 at the famous stadium.
Arsenal had shown no signs of a reaction from their UEFA Women's Champions League semi final defeat to Wolfsburg a few days earlier but needed to withstand a spell of Liverpool pressure during the middle stages of the first half.
The Reds created the first clear opportunity of the game when Nicole Rolser whipped in a cross from the left for Katrin Omarsdottir but the Icelandic international headed wide when well placed. Louise Fors then drove a shot just wide from the edge of the area.
Arsenal saw out the period of pressure and then came up with a devastating response. Niamh Fahey fed Rachel Yankey on the left and the winger clipped a long ball into the area for Ellen White to direct a shot at full stretch past Sarah Quantrill for the opening goal.
Liverpool hit back with a Fara Williams free kick which hit the side netting but Arsenal were looking dangerous every time they attacked and almost went two ahead when Little broke down the left and cut the ball across for White whose shot struck the post.
Two minutes later, Little's pass released Nobbs on the left where she drove in a low cross, White produced a fine piece of skill to turn away from Gemma Bonner but shot straight at Quantrill when she looked certain to score.
Another good move saw Yankey's pass flicked on by Little for Nobbs who fired her shot over the bar and then Gemma Davison made a blistering run into the Liverpool half and threaded a neat path into the path of White whose shot was inches past the far post.
Liverpool rode out the storm and duly grabbed the lifeline they needed in first half injury time. Arsenal defender Gilly Flaherty had been troubled with a facial injury for most of the half and had to leave the field to change her shirt again - bizarrely she wore three different numbers during the game - leaving the Gunners one short when defending a corner. The initial kick was dealt with by the Arsenal defence but Alex Scott played a loose pass and Amanda Da Costa drove in a cross for Natasha Dowie to beat Emma Byrne with a neat diving header for the equaliser.
Liverpool's tails were up at the start of the second half but Scott almost atoned for her error within minutes of the restart when she got on the end of a deep Yankey cross but her shot was just off target.
Three minutes later, Davison made a powerful run out of defence and switched play with a crossfield pass for Little who sped away from the Liverpool back four and gave Quantrill no chance with a clinical left foot finish into the far corner.
Nobbs had a shot deflected wide following good hold up work by White and Quantrill saved from a Houghton free kick as Arsenal sought to increase their lead but Liverpool were to create a good chance of their own, Corina Schroder playing in Rolser who cut inside into a good position but lifted her shot over the bar.
Davison was in typically rampant form on the right and another good run carried her into the area before shooting just wide. Nobbs was also off target from close range following more good work by Davison and Lucy Bronze made a vital block from a goalbound Yankey shot.
Liverpool need to push forward in the late stages in search of an equaliser and the chance almost came when Dowie got in behind the Arsenal defence but an alert Scott got across to make a vital interception.
Liverpool forced a number of corners in the dying minutes but Arsenal stood strong, with the unflappable Flaherty once again impressing in the centre, to close the game out and secure their place in the Final next month.
Liverpool: Sarah Quantrill, Becky Easton (sub Corina Schroder 61mins), Whitney Engen, Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Amanda Da Costa, Katrin Omarsdottir, Natasha Dowie, Louise Fors (sub Lillie Billson 79mins), Nicole Rolser. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons, Katie Brusell, Jess Holbrook.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Niamh Fahey, Steph Houghton, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Kim Little, Rachel Yankey (sub Danielle Carter 82mins). Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Yvonne Tracy, Jayne Ludlow, Jennifer Beattie.
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