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Arsenal 1 (Beattie 81) Bristol Academy 0
Jennifer Beattie's 40-yard piledriver was enough to secure Arsenal's second straight win of the new FA WSL season, a 1-0 success against Bristol Academy.
Having tried and failed to break down a resolute Bristol Academy defence for 81 minutes, up stepped Beattie to fire a show-stopping strike past England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain to secure all three points.
With early season injuries affecting their squad, and Sunday's FA Women's Cup semi final against Barnet looming large, it was a much-changed Arsenal that lined up for their first home match in the new league.
One of those who benefitted from the changes was Jordan Nobbs, the summer-signing from Sunderland, who was awarded her first WSL start and she almost made it a dream one when she wriggled free in the third minute but blazed her effort high and wide from 12 yards.
With Sunday's clash in mind, Arsenal's goal scorer from the opening day victory over Chelsea, Gilly Flaherty, dropped to the bench but her rest was short lived as she replaced captain Faye White, who was injured after just 20 minutes.
Despite the loss of their skipper, Arsenal dominated possession throughout the first half but lacked a cutting edge. Danielle Carter saw a snapshot easily saved by Chamberlain while Ellen White mistimed a volley after an inch perfect cross from the lively Rachel Yankey.
Deep into first half stoppage time Arsenal went within inches of opening the scoring through Katie Chapman. But the midfielder's vicious 25-yard strike rattled Chamberlain's bar. Bristol also enjoyed their most productive spell of the half during time added on with Lillie Bilson lashing one half chance over the bar, and another straight at Emma Byrne.
It was more of the same after the interval, with Arsenal enjoying the lion's share of possession and Bristol happy to attack on the counter. Substitute Ann Marie Heatherson almost capitalised on a slack back pass from Steph Houghton but Byrne rushed out in time to block. Her strike partner Jessica Fishlock then tested the keeper with a 20-yard effort.
But back came Arsenal, and just when it looked as though they'd have to settle for a point, Beattie decided the clash with her early Goal of the Season contender which flew into Chamberlain's top right hand corner.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Jennifer Beattie, Jordan Nobbs, Ciara Grant, Faye White (sub Gilly Flaherty 20mins), Danielle Carter (sub Lauren Bruton 88mins), Katie Chapman, Ellen White, Julie Fleeting (sub Yvonne Tracy 90mins), Rachel Yankey. Subs not used: Becky Spencer, Kim Little.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Culvin, Corinne Yorston, Katie Daley, Grace McCatty, Jemma Rose, Lillie Bilson (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 58mins), Anouk Hoogendijk, Jessica Fishlock, Michelle Green (sub Jaz Matthews 86mins), Helen Bleazard. Subs not used: Alex Windell, Loren Dykes, Emma Jones.
(Report by www.TheFA.com)
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