Arsenal 1-0 Everton
KIM LITTLE fired Arsenal Ladies to the top of the WSL table – and killed off Everton’s title aspirations in the process.
The 21-year-old hit the only goal of the game nine minutes after half- time, which saw the Gunners leapfrog table-toppers Birmingham and move seven points clear of Everton with just one game left to play.
But Arsenal were equally thankful to goalkeeper Emma Byrne who produced a miraculous save midway through the second half as Everton tried in vain to snatch an equaliser.
Heavy rain had fallen over north London all afternoon and it was a very slippery surface that greeted the two sides at Boreham Wood FC’s Meadow Park.
But it was Arsenal who got to grips with the conditions quickest and the in-form Danielle Carter might have opened the scoring early in the first half.
First she beat the offside trap and charged onto Little’s through-ball only for Everton keeper Rachel Brown to rush out and challenge well at her feet. Then she thumped a low striker inches wide of the post.
Everton had to wait until four minutes before the break for their first sight of goal when Fara Williams lifted a free-kick into the box. But England defender Rachel Unitt saw her effort flash wide with Byrne seemingly beaten.
At the other end Yankey and the lively Little both tried their luck from long range before the interval but saw their efforts well held by Brown considering the greasy conditions.
But the latter did not have to wait long to make her mark as she opened the scoring nine minutes after the restart.
The Scotland international, who has now scored five in her last four WSL outings, wriggled free 20 yards from goal and drilled a low strike inside Brown’s right-hand post.
But it was goalkeeper Byrne, largely untroubled for the most part, who was the hero 11 minutes later from Dowie’s close-range effort.
The Everton No.9 prodded a strike goalwards from six yards but the Irish keeper somehow clawed the ball off the line.
ARSENAL: Byrne; Flaherty (Houghton 78), F.White, Grant, Fahey; Little, Ludlow, Chapman, Yankey; Carter (E.White 59), Fleeting (Beattie 75).
Goals: Little 54
EVERTON: Brown; Unitt, Whelan, Easton (Bronze 78), Johnson; Duggan,(Hinnigan 84), Chaplin, Williams, Scott; Dowie, Harries.
Ref: Sian Massey