Women's Super League - Matchday 3 Review
There were plenty of surprises in the third week of Women's Super League matches. Here is a review of all the action.
Arsenal maintained their 100% start to the season with a 4-3 win over WSL newcomers West Ham. Before this match Arsenal hadn't conceded a league goal but they found themselves behind early on after Kate Longhurst headed in. A few minutes later, Danielle van de Donk equalised. Longhurst scored again thanks to a defensive mix-up at the back from Arsenal. Just before half-time, van de Donk scored her second equaliser of the game. Arsenal finally took the lead in the second-half as van de Donk completed her hat-trick from yet another goalmouth scramble. Kim Little's low shot seemingly secured the points for Arsenal but a free-kick from Claire Rafferty five minutes from time made it 4-3 to set up a tense finale. The Gunners held on to claim the three points but it was undoubtedly their toughest match yet.
For the third game in a row, Brighton fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat. For the majority of the game, both teams were reluctant to attack and chances were few and far between. Liverpool's Niamh Charles shot from distance but it crashed off the crossbar. Kayleigh Green had a chance for Brighton after she latched onto a loose ball in the box but her diving header went wide. A draw would have been a fair result for both sides but substitute Rinsola Babajide scored a 20-yard winner for Liverpool to give them all three points with five minutes remaining.
Defending champions Chelsea are without a win or a goal after their third consecutive 0-0 draw. This time, it was Everton who stopped the Blues scoring and claimed a point. Chelsea struggled to overcome Everton's resolute defence. The Toffees came very close to taking the lead themselves. In the second half, a speculative shot from Inessa Kaagman caused Carly Telford problems. The Blues keeper fumbled the shot, which was straight at her, and then recovered just in time to stop it going over the line. Simone Magill hit a ferocious shot from the edge of the box but Telford was on hand to deny her. Drew Spence headed against the crossbar and Fran Kirby shot narrowly wide as Chelsea tried in vain to score their first goal of the WSL campaign.
Manchester City secured a point against Bristol City in dramatic fashion when it looked like they were heading for a shock defeat. Bristol City took the lead through Danique Kerkdijk who was on hand to tap in Ella Rutherford's free-kick after it hit the bar. Kiera Walsh and Caroline Weir had chance to equalise but were denied due to good saves from Bristol City keeper Sophie Baggaley. Five minutes into the second half, Juliettte Kemppi doubled Bristol City's lead with a lob from 30 yards after she dispossessed Man City keeper Karen Bardsley. Man City forced their way back into the game in the 83rd minute when Nikita Parris was brought down in the area and converted the resulting penalty to give the home team hope. Man City captain Steph Houghton's excellent finish earned Man City a point right at the death. Baggaley had no chance as Houghton's strike from the edge of the box was drilled into the top left corner.
Birmingham City were 1-0 winners against Reading, the third consecutive game in which they have won by a single goal and kept a clean sheet. Meaghan Sargeant fired in from Paige Williams' cross when the game was just seven minutes old and Birmingham held onto their slender lead for the rest of the game. Reading keeper Grace Maloney stopped Emma Follis from doubling Birmingham's lead after rushing out from her goal. Reading were unable to take their chances as they dominated in the second half. Gemma Davison fired wide and a double save from Ann-Katrin Berger ensured Birmingham were victorious. Birmingham and Arsenal are the only teams to have the full nine points from three WSL games so far.
Week 3 Results:
Arsenal 4-3 West Ham
Brighton 0-1 Liverpool
Everton 0-0 Chelsea
Manchester City 2-2 Bristol City
Reading 0-1 Birmingham City