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Arsenal 0 Lincoln Ladies 0
Arsenal's eight-match FA WSL winning streak came to an end with a frustrating goalless draw at home to Lincoln Ladies.
The result has taken the title race out of the Gunners' hands, at least for the time being, and into Liverpool's after they failed to break down a resolute and disciplined Lincoln team who have become something of a bogey side to Arsenal.
Both sides could have broken the deadlock during a frantic opening minute - Jess Clarke came close for the visitors, while Danielle Carter failed to convert for Arsenal - as the match started in a surprisingly open fashion.
Arsenal appeared shaky early on, with Lincoln looking to put pressure on the Gunners' back four at every available opportunity. But the home side could have taken the lead in fortuitous circumstances in the seventh minute.
Gemma Davison surged down the left hand side following a neat turn on the halfway line and drilled in a cross toward the penalty spot. It was cut out but the ensuing attempted clearance rebounded goalwards off of Jordan Nobbs, although the ball was gratefully held by Karen Bardsley in the Lincoln goal.
The Gunners, who were playing their third fixture in eight days, looked fatigued and were fortunate to avoid going behind six minutes before the break. Courtney Sweetman-Kick arced a dangerous cross across the face of goal but Carla Cantrell failed to get her toe to the ball, much to the relief of the Arsenal centre backs.
The match exploded into life after the interval, with both sides coming desperately close to scoring within ten minutes of the restart.
First Arsenal top scorer Danielle Carter was thwarted by Bardsley after spinning away from her marker, while Alex Scott saw her goalbound shot headed off the line by Sophie Walton.
Jordan Nobbs then clipped the woodwork with a deflected effort from 20 yards out, while at the other end Emma Byrne produced a superb double save to deny Lincoln's Jess Clarke, who had shown great pace and strength to get in behind the last defender.
Arsenal produced wave after wave of attack as the game reached its climax, but they were unable to turn their possession into goals and handed the initiative to Liverpool in the title race.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Steph Houghton, Gemma Davison, Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White (sub Rachel Yankey 68mins), Kim Little, Danielle Carter. Subs not used: Cherie Rowlands, Yvonne Tracy, Ciara Grant, Caroline Weir, Freda Ayisi, Jade Bailey.
Lincoln Ladies: Karen Bardsley, Amy Turner (sub Lara Fay 84mins), Martha Harris, Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Bonnie Horwood, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (sub Aileen Whelan 76mins), Carla Cantrell, Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Julianna Draycott, Meaghan Sargeant, Lillie Fenlon-Billson, Emily Roberts.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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