Fara Williams scores late penalty to send Arsenal through
But midfielder believes Kelly Smith was the key to victory over Notts County in FA WSL Cup
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup match
19:00, Friday 5 August 2016
Fara Williams may have scored the late penalty but she believes it was substitute Kelly Smith who proved the difference as Arsenal beat Notts County 3-2 to reach the semi-finals of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup.
The Gunners were trailing 2-1 when Smith was introduced midway through the second half and it was the former England star who equalised on 82 minutes.
And when the reigning champions were awarded a penalty in the dying moments, it was left to Williams to fire her side to victory at Barnet FC’s The Hive.
Williams said: “Games against Notts County are always tough but we did well to make sure we stayed in it. Kelly made the difference when she came on; a player we targeted because of the ability she has on the ball. She brought us back into the game which was much needed.
“I was fine taking the penalty, I’m always chilled. You just have to execute it. I missed one the other week but it was just a case of executing it.
“We said in the huddle after Kelly scored that we had ten minutes and we were more than capable of getting a goal. We pressed on and probably tried harder than them to get a winner.
“We have to target [winning the Cup] now because we’re probably out of the running for the Women’s Super League. We haven’t been consistent in the league so getting to the final of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup is our target.”
Arsenal led after eight minutes when Casey Stoney headed Williams’ corner over Megan Walsh but four minutes before the break Notts County levelled when Fern Whelan headed in Jo Potter’s free-kick.
Half-time substitute Jess Clarke took seven minutes to make an impact when she curled into the far corner to put the Lady Pies ahead.
But with eight minutes remaining fellow replacement Smith lashed into the corner from 20 yards.
And with two minutes remaining, the lively Asisat Oshoala was hauled down inside the box and Williams converted the penalty to send Arsenal into the semi-finals.
“We had two teams full of very good players, playing the game well,” Notts County manager Rick Passmoor said.
“We have got to keep developing and believing in what we are trying to do and how we are going to achieve it.
“We have got one eye on the winter league already. Sustaining our FA Women’s Super League 1 status was our ambition and I think we are probably about four points away from consolidating that.
“You might say playing Arsenal next is an added motivation after tonight but it’s how you handle it and managing your emotions that matters.”
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Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Emma Byrne; Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Jemma Rose, Emma Mitchell; Fara Williams, Dominique Janssen; Jordan Nobbs, Vicky Losada, Dan Carter; Danielle van de Donk.
Substitutes: Asisat Oshoala for Losada 46, Kelly Smith for Mitchell 67, Natalie Pablos Sanchon for Scott 81.
Substitutes not used: Sari van Veenendaal, Marta Corredera, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie McCabe.
Bookings: Mitchell 21, James 82.
Red cards: None.
Notts County (4-3-3): Megan Walsh; Dani Buet, Fern Whelan, Laura Bassett, Maja Krantz; Jo Potter, Jade Moore, Aivi Luik; Rachel Williams, Ellen White, Aileen Whelan.
Substitutes: Jess Clarke for F.Whelan 46, Angharad James for A.Whelan 70.
Substitutes not used: Amy Turner, Taome Oliver, Alice Hassall, Laura Jayne-O’Neill.
Bookings: Moore 56,
Red cards: None.
Referee: Lisa Rashid.