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Arsenal 2 (Nobbs 3, Yankey 58) Birmingham City 0
Arsenal's chance of retaining the Super League title is over despite this hard fought victory over Birmingham thanks to strikes from Jordan Nobbs and Rachel Yankey.
Bristol Academy's dramatic comeback win at Doncaster deprives the Gunners of another title success, but they gave it everything to stay in the race.
Arsenal knew that anything less than a win would see their grip on the Super League title relinquished and their urgency in the opening minutes led to an early goal.
Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer initially made a great reaction save to deny Katie Chapman's header, but the ball fell to Nobbs who struck a magnificent effort into the top corner.
The home side relaxed after taking the lead and looked comfortable, though Jo Potter's 21st minute corner from the right provided a scare as it drifted onto the angle of post and bar.
That moment seemed to put the Gunners on edge, who began to give possession away cheaply.
Alex Scott was dispossessed by Jade Moore in the 27th minute and she rifled a 25-yard effort at goal which Rowlands could only palm over. The resulting corner resulted in Rowlands being called into action again, diving low to her left to prevent Emily Westwood's header.
Arsenal had the final chance of the half when Westwood slipped in the 42nd minute, allowing Scott to cross to Nobbs. Her effort, however, was too close to Spencer.
Ellen White and Yankey both went close for Arsenal at the beginning of the second half before the home side doubled their lead.
The goal came from Yankey's 25-yard free kick which deflected wickedly off the Birmingham wall, leaving Spencer with no chance.
Despite increasing their advantage, it appeared as though Arsenal would be in for a nervy finish when Emma Mitchell was sent off in the 74th minute for bringing down Kirsty Linnett inside the box.
Issy Christiansen's penalty was saved by Rowlands though and Arsenal saw out the rest of the game without problem.
Arsenal: Cherie Rowlands, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Ciara Grant, Danielle Carter (sub Gemma Davison 66mins), Jordan Nobbs, Ellen White (sub Caroline Weir 82mins), Kim Little, Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Yvonne Tracy, Freda Ayisi, Jade Bailey.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Kerys Harrop, Jade Moore, Emily Westwood (sub Aoife Mannion 60mins), Laura Bassett, Issy Christiansen, Melissa Lawley, Kirsty Linnett, Karen Carney (sub Emily Simpkins 70mins), Jo Potter. Subs not used: Crissy Torkildsen, Hannah George, Katie Wilkinson, Mary Earps, Coral Haines.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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