Bristol City Women earned a deserved draw against Arsenal Women at Borehamwood.
A fantastic first-half strike from Lauren Hemp put Bristol City in front before Danielle van de Donk equalised early in the second half for Arsenal.
Bristol City started the game well and caught Arsenal on the back foot with their attacking football. The visitors had a few chances but nothing that Arsenal couldn’t handle. Pedro Martinez Losa’s side started to grow into the game and had some great chances to break the deadlock. Jordan Nobbs’ corner was met by Jemma Rose but her low header was collected by Bristol City keeper Sophie Baggaley, on loan from Birmingham City.
Minutes later Jordan Nobbs curled an effort on goal but an excellent save from Baggaley tipped it onto the bar and kept the scores level. Danielle Carter’s effort from the right hit the side netting as the Gunners continued to dominate.
However, it was Bristol City who took the lead through Lauren Hemp. The highly-rated teenager and England Under-17 captain produced an absolute cracker from range after cutting in from the left to stun Van Veenendaal and put the visitors in front after 30 minutes.
Bristol City had been playing well and patiently waiting for their opportunity and when it came, they made the most of it.
Arsenal could have been back on level terms almost immediately but Vivianne Miedema’s low shot across goal was just wide.
The Vixens went in with a one-goal lead at half-time which was thoroughly deserved. Arsenal on the other hand, had work to do.
Four minutes into the second half, Arsenal made amends. Danielle van de Donk finished coolly with her right foot from a tight angle for the equaliser. Carter was more involved after switched out to the left wing as Arsenal went in search of a second goal.
The Gunners very nearly had their second goal courtesy of Bristol City. Jordan Nobbs’ free-kick was almost turned in by Julie Biesmans. The ball into the box was dangerous and in her eagerness to clear it away, Biesmans deflected her block onto the crossbar for a corner. Bristol City were lucky.
Van Veenendaal denied Bristol City’s Flo Allen with a point-blank save as Willie Kirk’s side looked to regain their lead. The chances were flowing thick and fast for both sides. Baggaley saved Miedema’s effort before Chloe Arthur’s fierce strike from distance hit the crossbar following Van Veenendaal’s save.
Both sides did their best to get the winner in the closing minutes but the match ended 1-1. Bristol will be pleased with the result but the same cannot be said for Arsenal. They have made an underwhelming start to the season and are already five points behind title favourites Man City and Chelsea. Even at this early stage, Arsenal’s title hopes are looking slim.
Arsenal Women Starting XI: Van Veenendaal, Mitchell (Taylor 79), Henning, Williamson, Nobbs, Carter (Mead 66), Miedema, O’Reilly (Evans 53), Rose, Van de Donk, Samuelsson
Unused substitutes: Scott, Moorhouse, Quinn, Mead.
Bristol City Women Starting XI: Baggaley, Brown, Kerkdijk, Turner, Arthur, Biesmans, Allen, Dykes, Humphrey (Fergusson 85), Estcourt, Hemp
Unused substitutes: Van De Putte, Woodham, E Wilson, P Wilson