Arsenal keep title hopes alive as duo hit landmark goals
- Credit: PA
Arsenal kept their title hopes alive with a 3-0 win at Everton after Beth Mead and Jordan Nobbs both netted their 50th Super League goals.
Caitlin Foord had put the Gunners ahead just before the break, after a stunning pass from Leah Williamson found the Australian international and she finished with confidence.
Jonas Eidevall’s troops started the better of the two, when Lia Walti whipped a fine ball into the feet of Vivianne Miedema who flicked a pass into Steph Catley, but her low cross was well cut out.
Mead was next to try her luck, as she cut inside from the left but her shot lacked any real power making it a routine save for Sandy MacIver in the Toffees goal.
Arsenal had Everton pinned in just where they wanted them, as Miedema slotted a pass to Mead who in turn played in Stina Blackstenius, but Gabrielle George came across and dealt with the danger.
Everton had their first real half-chance with 19 minutes gone when Toni Duggan was the target, but Williamson intercepted quickly to turn it into an Arsenal attack, as she picked out Catley who whipped a ball in for Blackstenius but she couldn’t reach the cross.
Catley was heavily involved in the Arsenal attacking moves as she played in Foord, but MacIver reacted well to grab the ball ahead of the attacker who was about to pull the trigger.
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The visitors did have the ball in the net with Noelle Maritz sliding the ball into the path of Blackstenius, who made no mistake to find the bottom corner, but the flag was raised and it was ruled out for offside.
Arsenal had another big opening when Blackstenius fizzed a ball in from the left for Mead who rolled her effort just wide.
And Williamson could have opened the scoring on 36 minutes when she met a corner from the right, but she headed wide under pressure from Lucy Graham.
However on 43 minutes the deadlock was broken, when Williamson played a superb pass into Foord who took a perfect first touch before sliding the ball across goal and into the bottom corner.
On the stroke of half-time, the Gunners had an opportunity to double their lead, when Mead curled in a dangerous cross before it was headed back across goal, but nobody could get the all-important final touch.
Arsenal started the second half on top and won a free-kick following a foul from Nathalie Bjorn, allowing Mead to whip the ball in for Blackstenius at the near post, but it was well cleared by former Gunner Leonie Maier.
Blackstenius came close to doubling the lead when she was played in by Miedema, but she took a heavy touch before the ball rebounded back to Miedema who blasted wide.
George was on hand to make a brilliant block as Arsenal applied real pressure, as Miedema cracked a shot in on goal but the defender came across to make a last-ditch block.
Eidevall then made a double change bringing off Blackstenius and Foord, replacing them with Nobbs and Katie McCabe.
Those changes allowed Miedema to go higher up the pitch and on 66 minutes that worked perfectly as she went on a fine run before sliding the ball across the box for Mead, who flicked the ball over the line and into the back of the net to double the lead.
Two became three when Nobbs reached her half-century as Mead’s lay-off picked out the midfielder who powerfully whipped her effort into the roof of the net to seal the points.
That goal also meant that Mead broke the all-time WSL assist record with 36 taking over from Karen Carney.
Miedema could have had a fourth when she span in behind Poppy Pattinson, but her strike was straight at the goalkeeper.
That was to be Miedema’s last involvement as she came off for Nikita Parris, who has 49 WSL goals to her name, and Mana Iwabuchi replaced Kim Little.
Arsenal made their final change of the game when Frida Maanum came on for Walti with only a few minutes remaining and the final bit of action saw Williamson meet a corner and send a cheeky backheel towards goal but it zipped over the top.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Little (Iwabuchi 79), Walti (Maanum 88), Mead, Miedema (Parris 79), Foord (Nobbs 65), Blackstenius (McCabe 65). Unused subs: Beattie, Williams, Boye Sorensen, Wienroither.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle.