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Lincoln Ladies 1 (Clarke 23) Arsenal 1 (Little 82)
Lincoln started this season's Continental Cup campaign with a well earned draw at home to holders Arsenal.
A point sees both teams share the points in the first of three group games, with Lincoln's second group game coming away to Bristol on Sunday, as Lincoln bid to further their semi final exit last season.
It was Arsenal who had the first attack of the match. Jordan Nobbs broke the offside trap and drove towards goal, but a heavy touch by the byline allowed Sophie Bradley to get a toe to the ball, conceding the corner. Despite being under heavy pressure Karen Bardsley cleared well from the corner.
As the game entered the tenth minute mark it was another Arsenal corner which caused problems, Nobbs' header looked to be creeping into the corner but as Ellen White aimed to help it on, she headed wide.
Despite the possession being largely even it was Arsenal who again were causing the problems, Gemma Davison cut inside Amy Turner and unleashed a vicious shot which Bardsley did well to parry, before saving well from Scott's driven follow up.
On 23 Lincoln took the lead. Martha Harris intercepted Fahey's pass and drove forward. She beat one defender before taking the ball at wide, where she drove a cross into the box. The ball ran across Gilly Faherty and fell to Jess Clarke, the England winger controlling well before calmly slotting the ball between Emma Byrne's legs and in to the net.
It was Lincoln's first real chance in a game which, although being very even in possession, Arsenal had had the better chances.
Arsenal looked to respond, and just before the half hour Alex Scott tested her England colleague Bardsley again with a strong drive that the 'keeper did well to turn behind.
Just before half time Lincoln almost created a chance to double their lead but Hamilton's cross was well cleared by Houghton as Cantrell and Clarke were ready to pounce.
Lincoln started the second half the strongest, and four minutes in Cantrell almost doubled the home side's advantage. Clarke beat Houghton on the right before pulling the ball back across the box to Hamilton, the striker laid the ball off to her strike partner Cantrell who curled just wide.
With just fourteen minutes left Gemma Davison beat Martha Harris down the Arsenal right and cut into the box before pulling the ball back to Jordan Nobbs who miss kicked when well placed.
As the game entered the last ten minutes Cantrell almost secured the game for the home side. Substitute Emily Roberts dispossessed Team GB defender Steph Houghton and pulled the ball back to the striker 12 yards out, but Cantrell fired just inches wide of the post.
And Lincoln were made to pay for the missed opportunity. Gemma Davison beat Martha Harris down the right and cut into the box before laying the ball across the goal again, unlike Nobbs previously Kim Little connected well to slam the ball into the net to equalise.
There was just one more chance as Carla Cantrell again caused problems, but her turn and shot was well deflected as it flew towards goal.
Lincoln Ladies: Karen Bardsley, Amy Turner, Martha Harris, Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Hayley Bowdon, Precious Hamilton (sub Emily Roberts 69mins), Carla Cantrell, Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Bonnie Horwood, Megan Harris, Amy Kay.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Niamh Fahey, Steph Houghton, Gilly Flaherty (sub Jayne Ludlow 42mins), Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Kim Little, Danielle Carter. Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Jade Bailey, Bianca Bragg, Lauren Bruton.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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