Arsenal pip Hammers
LONDON, Sept 8, (RTRS): An unstoppable Beth Mead goal helped champions Arsenal to a narrow 2-1 win over West Ham in their FA Women’s Super League opener on Sunday, while Bethany England’s early rocket proved enough for Chelsea as they beat newcomers Tottenham Hotspur 1-0.
Although last year’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema missed the game with a tight hamstring, Mead’s thunderous shot put Arsenal ahead in the 14th minute, and she then teed up debutant Jill Roord to make it 2-0 just before halftime.
A much-improved West Ham pulled a goal back through Martha Thomas just before the hour mark, and though they also hit the crossbar from an indirect free kick in the dying minutes, Arsenal managed to hang on for the three points.
The opening weekend of the WSL provided some superb long-range goals and huge gates as the women’s game continues to ride a wave of success after England’s fourth-place finish at July’s World Cup in France.
A crowd of over 24,000 at Stamford Bridge saw England get Chelsea’s season off to a perfect start in the fourth minute when she rifled home a left-footed shot from outside the area.
An outstanding free kick by Fara Williams gave Reading a 1-0 victory at Liverpool, while Everton won 1-0 at Birmingham City thanks to an own goal by Blues captain Kerys Harrop.
Watched by a record Women’s Super League crowd, Manchester City beat Manchester United 1-0 in the competition’s first derby between the neighbors on Saturday.
Caroline Weir scored in the 48th minute in front of 31,213 fans, a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area.
The Etihad Stadium home to the City men was being used for the season opener rather than the smaller nearby stadium usually used by the women’s team, as WSL teams look to build on the popularity of the Women’s World Cup where England reached the semifinals.
While City was second in the WSL last season and won both domestic cups, United is in the topflight for the first time after being promoted as Championship winners. United disbanded its women’s team in 2005 but it was reformed last year.