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Women's Football News
Arsenal 2 (Flaherty 24, Scott 59) Chelsea 1 (Aluko 64)
Arsenal's climb up the FA WSL table continued as goals from defenders Gilly Flaherty and Alex Scott gave them victory in their last match before the mid-season break.
However the game was also notable for Gunners captain Steph Houghton and Chelsea striker Eniola Aluko both going off with injuries to give watching England Head Coach Hope Powell more injury worries ahead of the Euro 2013 Finals.
Arsenal started the game brightly without creating any clear cut chances and on the quarter hour, Houghton was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury following a collision with Ester Dos Santos.
It was Chelsea who created the first opportunity when Aluko burst through before being denied by Emma Byrne, who got a block to her shot and Flaherty was on hand to complete the clearance.
Five minutes later, the defender was involved at the other end as Arsenal took the lead. Kim Little floated a corner into the area and Flaherty - who scored her first goal for two seasons in the previous match against Bristol Academy - made it two in two games with a firm header.
Chelsea hit back quickly with Byrne needing to save from Ester, although an offside flag would have ruled out a goal, and the Arsenal keeper again saved smartly from Aluko.
Arsenal themselves also looked dangerous going forward and Jordan Nobbs failed to take an opportunity to double their lead as scooped over from a Scott cross. Yankey was just off target with a powerful strike as the Gunners took their one-goal advantage into the break.
Arsenal started the second half at a fast pace and carried the game forward but found Carly Telford in excellent form in the Chelsea goal, making a string of good saves from Little, Nobbs and Yankey. Little blazed a left foot shot over the bar before Arsenal took a firm grip on the game by conjuring up a superb second goal.
Scott made a strong run into the area and neatly exchanged passes with Nobbs before giving Telford no chance with a rasping shot which found the roof of the net.
However Arsenal have been in an uncharacteristic habit of gifting goals at the other end this season and this was to haunt them again just five minutes later. Jennifer Beattie tried to beat Aluko just outside her own area but stumbled, Aluko nipped in and although Byrne blocked her initial shot, the England striker was able to bundle home the rebound under pressure from Flaherty.
Sadly Aluko's joy turned to pain shortly afterwards when she pulled up injured during a Chelsea attack and she limped off after an attempt to carry on.
Arsenal always looked the likelier to score after this point, the impressive Telford making another good stop from Nobbs' angled drive while Beattie and Danielle Carter both had shots charged down. Chelsea worked hard to try and get themselves back on level terms but Arsenal successfully saw the game out to record their fourth straight win in all competitions.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Jennifer Beattie, Steph Houghton (sub Jade Bailey 15mins), Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Gemma Davison, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White, Kim Little, Rachel Yankey (sub Danielle Carter (81mins). Subs not used: Rebecca Spencer, Yvonne Tracy, Bianca Bragg, Lauren Bruton.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Dunia Susi, Olina Vidarsdottir, Kylie Davies, Ester Dos Santos, Katie Holtham, Hannah Blundell (sub Laura Coombs 55mins), Danielle Buet, Eniola Aluko (sub Kate Longhurst 76mins), Helen Ward (sub Drew Spence 70mins), Sofia Jakobsson. Subs not used: Jessica Myers, Naomi Cole, Edda Gardarsdottir, Helen Bleazard.
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