LADIES REPORT: CHELSEA 0 ARSENAL 1
It was a resilient Chelsea performance at Wheatsheaf Park and we were unfortunate to suffer defeat, Arsenal only prevailing thanks to a close-range strike from Danielle Carter, who netted shortly before the half-hour mark.
The visitors started strongly, Jordan Nobbs and Ellen White had already shot off target before Steph Houghton's 10th-minute header from a corner was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Blues goalkeeper Marie Hourihan.
Chelsea forward Sofia Jakobsson's skill and movement had threatened to cause problems. She combined well with Ester 20 minutes in but the Brazilian's cross was just too far in front of Yuki Ogimi.
Arsenal began to get control of the game and forced a number of corners. The breakthrough came from one of them when Rachel Yankey's delivery was not completely cleared; Little put the ball back in and White met it at the back post teeing up Carter, who poked home from six yards.
Arsenal came close to extending their advantage just before the break. Carter charged down Hourihan's clearance and worked the ball back to Yankey, whose lob was gratefully grabbed by the goalkeeper.
Emma Hayes made one change to personnel at the break, with Holtham replacing the injured Fogarty, and though we were under pressure for large parts of the second half, White, Little and Nobbs all passed up opportunities for Arsenal.
As the half wore on, we began to find some attacking momentum.
Eni Aluko's fierce shot was blocked and shortly afterwards the England striker looked set to equalise from close range only to again be denied, this time by Alex Scott's tackle.
Little went close to making it 2-0, sending in a fierce 20-yard shot which Hourihan pawed away to safety.
We threw numbers forward in an attempt to salvage a point but it was Arsenal that came closest to scoring late on when Carter shot over.
Despite late pressure, we were unable to break the Gunners down and it was the north London side who took all three points.
Chelsea (4-4-1-1): Marie Hourihan; Danielle Buet, Kylie Davies, Sophie Ingle, Sophie Fogarty (Katie Holtham 46 mins); Eniola Aluko (Helen Ward 76 mins), Laura Coombs, Ester, Sofia Jakobsson; Drew Spence (Jodie Brett 55 mins); Yuki Ogimi.
Subs Not Used Carly Telford, Helen Bleazard, Dunia Susi, Rosella Ayane
Ref J. Busby