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Birmingham City 0 Arsenal 1 (Ubogagu 52)
Chioma Ubogagu scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal went back into second place in the WSL 1 table whilst extending Birmingham's astonishing goalless run.
To add to the Blues' woes, they had striker Freda Ayisi sent off for two bookable offences and they have now gone nine matches without a win whilst Arsenal carried off the points from a scrappy encounter at Solihull.
Birmingham did start the game brightly with Kerys Harrop and Jade Moore heading wide from free kicks but Arsenal served notice of their threat going forward when Ubogagu broke down the left and crossed for Natalia Pablos Sanchon who swept her shot over the bar.
Ayisi fired wide from distance at the other end but the majority of the few chances were going the way of the visitors. Ubogagu's shot from outside the area appeared to be going wide but Rebecca Spencer took no chances, palming the ball away for a corner, then a free kick near the touchline caused a scare for the Blues as Ubogagu's cross was intially fumbled by Spencer, who pushed the ball away before Natalia could force it home.
The first half had largely been a midfield battle but a moment of madness on the stroke of half time gave Birmingham a mountain to climb. Having been booked only two minutes earlier, Ayisi launched herself into a reckless challenge on Leah Williamson and the referee was left with no option but to show her a second yellow card.
Both sides made a substitution at half time with injury victims Jo Potter and Alex Scott being replaced by Kirsty Linnett and Danielle Carter respectively.
Seven minutes into the second half, Arsenal opened the scoring with a quality move. After exchanging passes with Natalia and Vicky Losada, Ubogagu was put through on goal and she steadied herself before coolly slotting past Spencer to put her side ahead.
Birmingham tried to hit back with Karen Carney making a good run down the right before sliding the ball across the edge of the area for Melissa Lawley whose deflected shot was held by Emma Byrne.
The Blues were to go even closer shortly afterwards following another Carney run, this time her cross picked out Remi Allen whose effort came back off the post and Linnett volleyed the rebound over the bar.
This proved to be the best opportunity for the home side as Arsenal tightened up for the remainder of the game with Casey Stoney in fine form alongside Jemma Rose, whilst Williamson and Jade Bailey, who had taken over from the injured Losada, kept a hold on things in midfield.
Arsenal could have added to their lead late on as Carter chased down a long ball from Williamson but Spencer came to the rescue with a fine smothering save. This was to be the last opportunity of a largely disappointing game, but a match which could have produced a vital win for Arsenal who are now firmly back in the title race.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Meaghan Sargeant, Jess Carter, Jade Moore, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Freda Ayisi, Remi Allen, Melissa Lawley, Karen Carney, Jo Potter (sub Kirsty Linnett 45mins (sub Charlie Wellings 86mins)). Subs not used: Cheryl Edwards, Emily Westwood, Alex Windell, Coral Haines, Chloe Peplow.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott (sub Danielle Carter 45mins), Emma Mitchell, Jemma Rose, Casey Stoney, Vicky Losada (sub Jade Bailey 77mins), Natalia Pablos Sanchon (sub Rachel Yankey 72mins), Leah Williamson, Chioma Ubogagu, Dominique Janssen, Marta Corredera. Subs not used: Sari van Veneendal, Carla Humphrey, Chloe Kelly, Evie Clarke.
(top) Karen Carney under pressure from Emma Mitchell
(middle) Chioma Ubogagu scores the only goal of the game
(bottom) Dominique Janssen about to play the ball past Jade Moore
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