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Arsenal Ladies celebrate Women's Super League title triumph with win over Doncaster Rovers Belles
Two own goals helped Arsenal Ladies secure a 3-2 win over Doncaster Rovers Belles as they retained the Women’s Super League title at Meadow Park yesterday.
Birmingham’s failure to beat Bristol Academy in an earlier match meant Arsenal had already sealed their 11th title in 12 years by the time they kicked off against the Belles.
The Gunners took the lead in the 16th minute when Ellen White was played in by Danielle Carter and her cross-cum-shot was turned into her own net by the unfortunate Lyndsey Cunningham.
Four minutes later the visitors were level. There appeared to be no danger when Aine O’Gorman picked the ball up 35 yards out but her stunning effort flew past the helpless Emma Byrne and into the top corner.
Doncaster gifted Arsenal the lead again ten minutes later as Tanya Oxtoby inexplicably headed Gemma Davison’s cross into her own net. Moments later the hosts came close to extending their lead. Jordan Nobbs’ precise through ball split the Doncaster defence and White’s first time volley flew inches over the crossbar.
The visitors almost gifted Arsenal a goal for the third time when Millie Bright’s poor back pass sent White clean through but Belles goalkeeper Mary Earps was alert and made an excellent save.
Second-from-bottom Doncaster came close to equalising again just before half-time when Jess Sigworth fired just over from the edge of the box.
The visitors, who have won just two league games all season, started the second half well and went close twice in quick succession. First, Alyssa Lagonia’s free-kick was headed wide by captain Leandra Little and moments later Lagonia herself fired a 25-yard shot just over the bar.
Arsenal responded and were inches away from a third goal when Alex Scott found Kim Little in the box, only for the Scotland striker’s shot to come back off the post.
With 15 minutes to go the hosts brought on Kelly Smith for Davison and the substitution paid dividends when, after a defence splitting pass from Little, the England international calmly slotted past the advancing Earps.
There was still time for Doncaster to score a consolation goal when Byrne could only parry O’Gorman’s shot into the path of Leandra Little but the Gunners held on to secure the win.
After the match they were presented with the Super League trophy once again and will complete the league season unbeaten if they avoid defeat against Birmingham next weekend.