Match Reports

Report: Gunners out-fire Albion at Crawley

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Arsenal were too strong for Albion as they strengthened their position at the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League with a comfortable victory.

By Bruce Talbot • 12 January 2020

By Kyle Hemsley
Amanda Nilden gets past Leah Williamson.
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  • Albion back in action against Manchester United on Wednesday in the League Cup

Hope Powell’s side fell behind to Danielle van de Donk’s early goal and although Albion had a good spell just before the break, they were 2-0 down by then to a goal from Jill Roord.

England international Jordan Nobbs put Arsenal in control with a third goal early in the second half and Beth Mead made it 4-0 near the end. Powell’s team never stopped working all over the pitch but the Gunners had too much quality.

Albion must regroup ahead of Wednesday’s Continental League Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on Wednesday. 

By Kyle Hemsley
Aileen Whelan looks to play a pass.

They had made two changes to the side that earned an important three points last week with a 1-0 win over Liverpool with Amanda Nilden and Victoria Williams coming into the side.

Manager Powell would have been keen for her side to keep it tight in the early stages but instead they fell behind after just four minutes when van de Donk latched onto a diagonal ball down the left and held off Kirsty Barton’s challenge before beating Megan Walsh with a left-foot finish inside the near post.

By Kyle Hemsley
Emily Simpkins pushes forward against Arsenal

It was nearly two a few minutes later but Walsh did well to block Roord’s shot and then grab the loose ball.

It was difficult for Albion to get a foothold in the game in the opening 30 minutes. There was certainly no lack of effort from the hosts, but the league leaders were in control and doubled their lead on 31 minutes when Roord was found unmarked 15 yards out and drilled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

By Kyle Hemsley
Kayleigh Green looks for a way past Jill Roord.

Fliss Gibbons did well to block a shot from Vivianne Miedema and Walsh parried Nobbs’ effort as Arsenal pressed for more goals before Albion had their best spell just before the break when Aileen Whelan, matchwinner against Liverpool last week, curled a cross that had Arsenal keeper Manuela Zinsberger back-pedalling before she pushed the ball away from danger.

Whelan was involved again when she played Emily Simpkins in on the right but the midfielder’s shot went wide of the near post.

By Kyle Hemsley
Lea Le Garrec gets away from Danielle van de Donk.

Kate Natkiel came on at the break against one of her former clubs, but it was 3-0 six minutes into the second half when Nobbs had the space to fire a low left-foot shot past Walsh.

With a 3-0 lead, Arsenal were able to control proceedings. Megan Connolly came on for Emily Simpkins and Ini Umotong replaced Lea Le Garrec and although Albion continued to work hard all over the pitch the visitors were rarely stretched at the back.

Barton fired over from just outside the box but Albion conceded a fourth just before the end, when Walsh was beaten to the loose ball by Miedema and substitute Mead fired into the empty net.

ALBION: Walsh; Barton, Kerkdijk, Williams, Gibbons; A. Whelan, Le Garrec (Umotong 75), Bowman, Nilden (Natkiel 45), Simpkins (Connolly 66); Green.

SUBS NOT USED: Harris, Roe, Lundorf, Hack.