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Women's Football News
Nottingham Forest hosted a special friendly against Arsenal at Rolls Royce Leisure Centre in Hucknall on Thursday night.
With Forest going into the game with the underdog status it proved to still gift an entertaining encounter that would benefit both sides and the 626 strong crowd.
The game kicked off at a frantic pace with both teams having small spells on the ball and surging forward at the earliest opportunities while also playing some good flowing football. Arsenal enthralled with elegant passing and assertive positional play that really tested the reserve of the home side.
Forest weren't without chances though as Kirsty Allen collected to thread to Bell but Arsenal's Siobhan Chamberlain was quick to intercept.
Forest's back four held the line well until a penalty was awarded against Forest for a handball decision. Eventual Player of the Match Jordan Nobbs despatched the penalty to put Arsenal in the lead despite Vanessa Kinnerley's best efforts to save.
Arsenal added a second ten minutes later after Alex Scott's low cross into the penalty area was turned into the net by Caroline Weir.
Arsenal added a third with Weir maximising for her brace after some deft passing from Arsenal to slot home just before half time.
Forest started brightly for the second half and boasted a lion share of the early possession the with a chance being carved out for Amber Hughes driving past the defence for Chamberlain to parry the rebound into the path of Allen creating her own space to despatch a shot and bounce back agonisingly off the bar.
With several substitutions from both sides, a keeper change gifted Nina Merritt the chance to pull off a dramatic diving save to prevent the fourth goal. However, minutes later, Nobbs grabbed the goal of the game with a fizzing shot from outside the penalty to push Arsenal further ahead.
Arsenal's new Japanese signings have settled quickly into their international side and were instrumental in the final goal with Shinobu Ohno, interlinking with Freda Ayisi, finding Bianca Bragg who slid home two minutes from full time.
Whilst the result was not in Forest's favour, the publicity around the game and the interest in Arsenal and their international players paid a huge part in bringing about positivity for the game on many levels. Both sides played their part to sign autographs for a swell of junior players from across Nottingham and the crowd was a great and varied representation of those that support the sport and the community.
Forest Ladies Director of Football, Lisa Dawkins was delighted on various levels: "The match gave opportunity to motivate members within Nottingham Forest Ladies both on and off the field. It was so good to see the faces of our mascots who were thrilled to be a part of the event, alongside other Nottingham clubs who supported and were given special access after the game for a meet and greet.
"To elevate awareness to this extent proves that we are doing something right but I would like to thank the supporters especially who enhanced the atmosphere and to all the Forest and Arsenal players and staff who embraced the night with spirit, passion and professionalism."
Arsenal manager Shelley Kerr responded: "We found the game very beneficial for our WSL preparation for the coming season. But we were really delighted that so many people turned out to watch the game. The hospitality we received was fantastic and we wish everyone at the club all the best for the rest of their season. Special thanks also to the players and coaching staff for playing their part in a really entertaining game."
Nottingham Forest (from): Vanessa Kinnerley, Annabel McKechnie, Demi Greenan, Trina Greaves, Kelly Kennaugh, Emma Hollingsworth, Kirsty Allen, Reanne Thomas, Andi Bell, Meg Howard, Amber Hughes, Natasha Meade, Nina Merritt, Grace Walters, Ruth Titterton, Jemma Grimadell, Lucy Webster, Suzie Maton.
Arsenal (from): Emma Byrne, Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Jade Bailey, Casey Stoney, Caroline Weir, Christie Murray, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey, Freda Ayisi, Leah Williamson, Leighanne Robe, Bianca Bragg, Yukari Kinga, Shinobu Ohno.
Photo - ASJ Photography
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