Chelsea snatch late, late equaliser to thwart north London rivals Arsenal 1-1 in dour WSL encounter

By Paul Lagan at Boreham Wood FC

Chelsea snatched a late, late equaliser as Pernille Harder’s angled byline cross took a wicked deflection and looped over goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.

It looked like the Gooners had taken all three points with five minutes left of normal time when Beth Mead volleyed home a Vivienne Miedema left wing cross.

In truth, the rubbish weather as the winner as nether side fully got to grips with the wind and the rain of the first half.

By then, the tempo of the game was already established and the game never fully recovered or opened up – until the last five minutes.

Both it was the late drama that then game will be remembered for.

The Blues were out of sorts from the first whistle and never got into their stride, while Arsenal were rugged and determined and fully made up for their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United last week with ‘we are not going to lose’ attitude.

Both sides started tentatively, the wind affecting any long passing.

Arsenal had Kim Little off the pitch for five minutes with an injury, but the Blues were unable to take advantage of the extra player.

A scuffed Beth England header on 10 minutes went wide of Manuela Zinsberger’s left post.

Chelsea dominated possession, but Arsenal’s  defence held firm while playing against the wind.

The best chance of the half came on the 43 minute when after Chelsea needlessly lost the ball, it fell invitingly to Caitlin Foord – her 25 yarder smacked off the Chelsea crossbar, and bobbled onto it again, before finally being cleared.

Emma Hayes introduced Sam Kerr at half-time, replacing midfielder Melanie Leupolz.

Within a minute, England had a great chance to open the score, but her powerful left-footer from 20 yards rowed over the Arsenal crossbar.

A great break by the Blues saw Jonna Andersson cross the ball and in-running Erin Cuthbert’s volley was goal-bound, but Katie McCabe managed to block the effort.

An error by Ji allowed Mead to attack the Chelsea goal, but the winger’s angled effort was clipped away for a corner.

England was again culpable when another error, this time from the hime side, saw harder pass to the striker who crashed the ball high and wide of the goal.

Hayes replaced England for Guro Reiten.

Harder had another effort but again her shot was blocked.

Arsenal dominated the later exchanges and several times went close.

But it was the Gooners who struck with five minutes left on the clock. A quick break on the left saw Vivienne Miedema on the left.

She raced clear of Millie Bright before sending in the perfect left-wing cross that in-running Mead met and she smashed the ball home past Berger.

With five minutes of added tome looming, a stroke of good fortune saw harder’s shot defect off an Arsenal defender before looping into the far corner of Zinsberger’s net.

Kerr could have won it with almost the last kick of the match when she raced clear only to see her lopping effort inch wide of the Arsenal goal.

Teams: Chelsea

Berger, Bright, Ingle, Leupolz, England, Ji, Ericsson, Mjelde, Cuthbert, harder, Andersson.

Subs: Thorisdottir, Carter, Reiten, Jessie Fleming, Kerr, Charles, Telford, Charlotte Fleming

Arsenal: Zinsberger, Wubben-Mooy, Williamson, Mead, Little, Miedema, Walti, Roord, McCabe, Foord, Maher.

Subs: Van De Donk, Evans, Williams, Gut, Pearse, Garland

Referee: Kirsty Dowle


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