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Arsenal 0 Manchester City 1 (Duggan 12)
Arsenal suffered their first WSL defeat of the season as Toni Duggan's first half goal gave Manchester City victory on a frustrating afternoon for the home side at Meadow Park.
After a scrappy opening ten minutes, City took the lead with the first real effort of note. Alex Scott did well to deal with a cross initially but the Gunners failed to clear their lines and Duggan deflected Krystle Johnston's shot past Emma Byrne.
Kelly Smith tried to provide an instant response for the second week in a row but her shot from the edge of the box was blocked. Moments later Yukari Kinga flicked a header wide of the post. Arsenal were in the ascendency with City happy to sit deep and break quickly and they had another chance when Smith was fouled 25 yards out but Rachel Yankey's effort missed the target.
The hosts had their best chance just after the half hour. Shinobu Ohno embarked on a mazy run from midfield and the ball eventually broke to Danielle Carter on the edge of the box. The Arsenal forward took a touch to create space but drove her shot over the bar.
City had a spell of pressure minutes later and former Arsenal player Steph Houghton dragged a shot wide from 30 yards.
The visitors had another chance after 36 minutes when Duggan had her shirt tugged back by Smith about 30 yards out but Houghton failed to hit the target from the resulting free kick. Duggan then saw a shot from the edge of the box easily held by Byrne a few minutes before the break.
Arsenal came close to an equaliser five minutes into the second half when Smith headed just wide from Yankey's corner. City then had a glorious chance to double their lead just before the hour when Duggan was sent clean through but Byrne made an excellent save with her feet.
Duggan had another great chance for the visitors in the 66th minute when a miscue from Leah Williamson sent her clear. The England international tried to loft the ball over Byrne but missed the target and Emma Mitchell was able to clear.
Arsenal responded with a chance of their own five minutes later. Substitute Freda Ayisi played a neat one-two with Smith on the edge of the box before driving a powerful shot at goal that was well held by City keeper Karen Bardsley. Another opportunity came and went in the 75th minute as Smith's powerful run from midfield was stopped by Houghton just outside the box but the Arsenal captain's free kick was blocked by the wall.
The Gunners had another set piece opportunity with eight minutes remaining. Ayisi was fouled by Jill Scott 25 yards out but Smith's effort went just over. Moments later Bardsley did brilliantly to tip Smith's long range effort onto the bar before Carter's effort from the rebound was cleared off the line.
Ultimately though, it was a disappointing afternoon for the Gunners but they have a chance to respond quickly when they face Birmingham City in the WSL on Wednesday.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Yukari Kinga, Leah Williamson, Casey Stoney, Jade Bailey (sub Freda Ayisi 68mins), Shinobu Ohno, Danielle Carter, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Abbie McManus, Emma Lipman, Jess Holbrook (sub Lynda Shepherd 78mins), Chelsea Nightingale, Steph Houghton, Krystle Johnston (sub Natasha Flint 78mins), Jill Scott, Toni Duggan (sub Danielle Young 90mins), Betsy Hassett, Issy Christiansen.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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