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A point each in 0-0 draw at Kingsmeadow but it’s Arsenal who start top of WSL – South London News

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By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Chelsea 0 v Arsenal 0

Chelsea survived a late onslaught by the WSL leaders Arsenal to snatch a point in an otherwise disappointing top of the league clash at Kingsmeadow.

Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net deep into added time, but they were adjudged to be offside. They also had a shout for a penalty denied by referee Rebecca Welch, but in truth this was a game Chelsea didn’t want to lose.

They remain two points behind Arsenal, but their game in hand could prove pivotal at the end of the season.

Arsenal were the better side, but a lack of serious clear cut finishing was their undoing.

Fran Kirby had a golden opportunity to score after four minutes when a long ball by Jonna Andersson on the left, fed a free Pernille Harder racing into the Arsenal penalty area. She cut the ball to in-running Kirby, who took a touch but fluffed her lines by hacking the ball over Manuela Zinsberger’s crossbar.

After that flurry of activity, Arsenal finally dug their heels in and started to dominate the ball.

On 20 minutes, Arsenal were desperately unlucky not to take the lead when a Vivienne Miedema rattled Ann-Katrin Berger’s left post with a thunderous right-footer from just on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area. the occasional counter-attack by the Blues was the best they could muster in a disappointing first half for the west Londoners.

Noelle Maritz took one for the team when she hauled down Harder on 43 minutes.

She got a deserved yellow card from  Welch.

A brilliant block by Steph Catley on the whistle prevented Erin Cuthbert from smashing home from close range.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

Jonna Andersson let fly with a  long-range wonder shot, that took a slight deflection which took it away from goal on 50 minutes.

Cuthbert’s night ended on 58 minutes when she limped off injured. Ji, replaced her.

But Arsenal restored  their superiority on the ball Lia Walti saw a left-footer flash over Berger’s crossbar on 60 minutes. 

But Harder had a chance to slot home two minutes later but Manuela Zinsberger made a fine save.

The Chelsea attack, when it came, was counter in method but lacked the clinical touch.

This was evident on 65 minutes when Guro Reiten shot directly at Zinsberger.

Quite how Arsenal did not score with four minutes left is anybodies game as they pummelled the Chelsea goal. Kicks off the line, blocked efforts and finally a clearance spared the Blues blushes.

The eight minutes brought a perplexed response from the 3,330 crowd.

An offside saw Arsenal survive defeat as neither side looked comfortable defending the point.

Teams: Chelsea, Berger, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, Carter, Reiten, Kirby, Kerr, Cuthbert, Harder, Andersson

Subs: Musovic, Ji, Fleming, James, Charles, Spence, Abdullina

Arsenal, Zinsberger, Souza, Williamson, Catley, Mead, Little, Miedema, Maritz, Foord, Blackstenius

Subs: Williams, Beattie, Nobbs, Maanum, Parris, Boye, Iwabuchi, Wienroither, Heath

Referee: Rebecca We;

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