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Arsenal 3 (Nobbs 26,40, Ubogagu 90) Notts County 0
att: 5,028; Rotherham United FC
Jordan Nobbs scored two first half goals to set Arsenal on their way towards a fourth Continental Tyres Cup success in five years at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
However the main talking point came eleven minutes before half time when Notts County captain Laura Bassett was controversially sent off for a challenge on Vicky Losada and, following a good start to the game, the Lady Pies were never quite able to get themselves back on terms from that point.
Both teams were missing players through injury and, on a very warm November day, a close match was anticipated between two teams looking to round off their respective seasons with some silverware.
There was a scare for Arsenal in the opening ten seconds of the game when Leah Williamson slipped on the edge of the area after chesting the ball down, Jess Clarke pounced on the loose ball but her low centre was well dealt with by Jemma Rose.
Arsenal settled down and began to keep possession and play their normal game but the first clear chance was to come County's way in the tenth minute, a free kick was not cleared and Ellen White poked the ball to Bassett in space in front of goal but Sari Van Veenendaal came to her side's rescue with a point blank save. Rachel Williams then fired narrowly over from 20 yards as County continued to grow in confidence.
Arsenal were looking a little nervous in defence and they were given something of a let off when Buet broke into the area only for play to be pulled back for a free kick awarded for a previous foul on the County midfielder. County again passed up a good chance when White broke down the right and past a challenge from Rachel Yankey and slid in a good low cross but Clarke poked her shot wide under pressure from Van Veenendaal and Rose.
Arsenal responded with their best move so far, Corredera being released down the right and her cross picked out Natalia, whose shot on the turn brought out a good low save from Carly Telford.
At the other end, a great clearing header by Casey Stoney foiled Williams from getting on the end of a Sophie Walton cross but as the game reached 26 minutes, Arsenal struck the first blow of the game.
Jordan Nobbs had been released in space down the right and the midfielder sprinted into the area, was not closed down by the County defence and Nobbs made them pay by firing her shot past Telford for the opening goal.
Things got even worse for County eight minutes later when Bassett lunged into a challenge on Losada, which was deemed to be dangerous by the referee. Although she appeared to win the ball, the County skipper was shown a straight red card for the offence and her side were reduced to ten players.
Arsenal pushed forward against a stunned County side and were two goals ahead five minutes before half time. A Corredera cross was headed away as far as Nobbs who controlled and unleashed a firm strike which Telford got a hand to but could not keep out.
The Gunners went into the break with a two-goal lead but it could have been different on the stroke of half time. Alex Greenwood floated a free kick into the area and, just beyond the far post, Williams header crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety.
The Gunners were to have a good opportunity to increase their lead two minutes after the restart as Nobbs floated a free kick into the area and to the far post where Natalia stabbed wide of the goal. Back came County with White bursting into the area before being denied by a good save from Van Veenendaal.
There was a moment of panic in the Arsenal defence shortly afterwards when White's cross into the area was not dealt with by Van Veenendaal and Rose's clearance cannoned off Dominque Janssen and back into the grateful arms of the keeper.
Van Veenendaal was to produce another good piece of keeping when she came out and smothered from White after a good knock down by Williams, as County tried to press forward in an attempt to get themselves back into the game, whilst Arsenal were happy to sit back and hit on the break.
County were unlucky not to pull a goal back from a corner when Desiree Scott did well to beat Yankey to the ball but she hooked her shot inches over the bar. Fern Whelan headed past the post at full stretch from another good Greenwood set piece but the Lady Pies just could not fashion a clear cut opening, with Stoney and Rose in fine form in the centre of the Arsenal defence.
The win was to be crowned in the second minute of injury time when a long ball forward by Williamson was chased down by Chioma Ubogagu, who dribbled past two tired defenders before poking the ball past Telford and a covering Laura-Jayne O'Neill for the third goal.
The margin of defeat was rough on County who had had the better of play for long spells but Arsenal were much more clinical on the day when it came to taking chances. There was a sad ending to the day when a botched presentation ceremony meant the County players were not presented with their medals but for Arsenal, it saw an eleventh successive year in which they had won a trophy, a record which speaks for itself.
Arsenal: Sari Van Veenendaal, Dominique Janssen, Leah Williamson, Jade Bailey, Casey Stoney, Jemma Rose, Natalia Pablos Sanchon (sub Chioma Ubogagu 74mins), Jordan Nobbs, Vicky Losada, Marta Corredera (sub Chloe Kelly 85mins), Rachel Yankey (sub Vyan Sampson 88mins). Subs not used: Emma Byrne, Carla Humphrey, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Georgia Allen.
Notts County: Carly Telford, Sophie Walton (sub Aileen Whelan 65mins), Amy Turner, Danielle Buet, Alex Greenwood, Laura Bassett, Jess Clarke, Rachel Williams (sub Laura-Jayne O'Neill 83mins), Ellen White, Leanne Crichton (sub Fern Whelan 43mins), Desiree Scott. Subs not used: Olivia Walker, Ashleigh Plumptre, Alice Hassall.
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