Arsenal have recorded a crucial victory in the race for UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification by seeing off Manchester United 2-0 at Meadow Park this evening.
A Millie Turner own goal and a second half header from Lotte Wubben-Moy helped The Gunners record a gritty win despite Joe Montemurro’s side having to play the final 28 minutes with 10 players following the dismissal of Beth Mead for a second yellow card.
Trailing United by six points and holding just one game in hand, Arsenal knew that they needed a performance at Meadow Park this evening and they got off to the best possible start when Jill Roord’s early effort was deflected into the visitors’ net off the unfortunate Millie Turner.
Christen Press looked dangerous for United in what was a frantic start but she couldn’t find a way beyond Manuela Zinsberger in the Arsenal goal.
Despite being 1-0 down, it was United who were the biggest threat for the remainder of the first half. Lauren James couldn’t direct a shot on target from the edge of the box while Turner failed to make up for her own goal when she could only head a chance straight at Zinsberger.
Arsenal came out for the second half brighter and Mead saw an effort expertly kept out of the net by United keeper Mary Earps.
The Gunners doubled their lead five minutes into the half when Wubben-Moy sent a bullet header crashing into the net from a corner kick.
Just after the hour, United were given a glimmer of hope when Arsenal forward Mead was dismissed after picking up a second booking.
That incident resulted in Arsenal going much deeper, although United suffered from a lack of quality in the final third. Casey Stoney’s side did have the ball in the back of the net nine minutes from time but Ella Toone was ruled to be in an offside position.
Katie Zelem then lashed a shot high and wide with the clock ticking down as United got desperate before Arsenal saw out the final minutes with some dogged defending as they claimed a 2-0 win which takes them to within three points of tonight’s opponents.
Arsenal travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a North London derby against Spurs in their next match while Manchester United will play at Old Trafford for the very first time with West Ham United providing the opposition.