Albion’s wait for a Women’s Super League win over Arsenal goes on but they were unfortunate not to get some reward for a committed display on Sunday.
In front of a record WSL crowd at the Broadfield Stadium of 4,921 Albion were punished by a familiar foe when Stina Blackstenius scored her third goal in her last two appearances against the Seagulls after 14 minutes.
But once they had recovered from that setback Albion gave a good account of themselves with Elisabeth Terland, Julia Zigiotti and Guro Bergsvand all going close. They couldn’t find a way past Manuela Zinsberger in the Gunners’ goal though, and goals in the last ten minutes from Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum made the game safe.
Albion started brightly but they conceded a poor goal in the 14th minute. Blackstenius missed her kick when she attempted to convert Katie McCabe’s cross but Jorelyn Carabali’s clearance went straight to the Sweden striker, who lifted her shot from ten yards into the top corner, leaving Sophie Baggaley helpless. Worryingly for Albion, in their last 41 matches the Gunners had never lost after scoring first, winning 39 of them.
It nearly got worse when Lotte Wubben Moy headed Beth Mead’s corner over from a great position before gradually Albion began to put some pressure on their opponents.
Top scorer Terland met Katie Robinson’s cross but mistimed her header and Zinsberger wasn’t troubled by long-range efforts from Vicky Losada Julia Zigiotti either.
But the Gunners’ keeper did need to have her wits about her two minutes before the break when the Seagulls exerted some consistent pressure. Terland shrugged off Lotte Wubbon-Moy and let fly with her right foot from an angle on the right, but Zinsberger parried her stinging shot and Arsenal cleared. Albion finished the half well and Zinsberger unconventionally pushed Zigiotti’s header round the post.
Albion maintained their momentum at the start of the second half and Bergsvand would have been disappointed not to test Zensberger when she met Losada’s corner with a firm header that flew over. The corner came after Alessia Russo produced a great tackle just as Katie Robinson was about to shoot, having been found by the marauding Maria Thorisdottir.
Mead, making her first Arsenal start a year to the day since suffering an ACL injury, fired over after Blackstenius had burst down the left. Albion were enjoying plenty of possession but the visitors increasingly threatened on the breakaway and Victoria Pelova’s cross looked certain to be converted by Russo on the stretch but she couldn’t make contact in front of goal.
With ten minutes to go Arsenal doubled their lead. Albion gave the ball away, Foord took her time and drilled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
Melissa Phillips again made full use of her bench and Robinson's dipping volley flew over in stoppage time but Arsenal put some gloss on the scoreline in the last minute when Kathrine Kuhl set up substitute Maanum to make it 3-0 with a composed finish.
Albion: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Bergsvand, Kullberg (Pattinson 84), Robinson, Losada (Symonds 64), Zigiotti, Li Mengwen (Rule 45), Bremer (Lee 64), Carabali, Terland (Pinto 72).
Subs not used: Evrard, Sarri, Hawkesby, Startup.
Referee: Tim Robinson