First of all, let us take a moment to celebrate that FAWSL is indeed back. How lovely. It's almost as if spring has sprung. Except for the whole thing with the weather being ludicrously cold for this time of year. I live in the south and it was 38 this morning. What is that?
Anyways, refocusing back on the start of the FAWSL season, the Arsenal Ladies took on Notts County. Yes, that Notts County. The Notts County that signed Ellen White seemingly out of nowhere Notts County. With that out of the way, let's discuss the match shall we?
Arsenal 1 (Scott 54') - Notts County 1 (Jess Clark 27')
Arsenal Starters: Byrne, Scott, Mitchell, Kinga, Stoney, Ohno, Carter, Smith, Yankey, Williamson, Murray
Subs Used: Ayisi for Murray 52', Hoogendijk for Mitchell 75'
Unused Subs: Chamberlain, Weir, Bailey, Bragg
One game into the FAWSL season and the Arsenal have one point. Could be worse, could be better. Overall the match was very even, and a pretty back and forth affair for the first half. Sadly that whole "finishing chances" thing seems to be a developing trend. Kelly Smith found herself in on goal several times, with nothing to show for it, and the same goes for Danielle Carter.
Luckily, or unluckily depending how you look at it, things changed a bit in the second half and Arsenal seemed to have a slight edge. Ohno and Scott worked incredibly well together down the side of the field, and its good to see those two seem to be clicking. In the last five to ten minutes of the match, it was a bit unbelievable that Arsenal didn't come out with the win.
Defensively Arsenal looked much better than the Birmingham City game, and it seems that their shutout performance in the 5th round of the FA Cup could be a sign of things to come. It could be that the back four has finally had some time to gel a bit and become a bit more comfortable playing with each other. Emma Mitchell was spectacular in this match, and had what may well have been a game saving tackle. Without it Notts County could have lead Arsenal 2-0 before half. Sadly, it seems she may have been injured in the match. Also, big shoutout to our girl with quite possibly the hardest name to type in the FAWSL: Anouk Hoogendijk. Subbing in for the aforementioned Mitchell, Hoogendijk made her debut for the club in today's match. Congrats!
It is worth noting that Ellen White did not play in this game. I think its pretty clear she is a game changer offensively, so it will be interesting to see how Arsenal handles star quality forwards down the road. No disrespect to Jess Clark though, she was all over the place in this game making big plays for Notts County. Clark's goal was the first ever for Notts County in the FAWSL, so that's pretty darn cool.
Overall, it was a good performance to start the season with for Arsenal, even if they probably should have left with more than just a point. Their next FAWSL game isn't until May 18th against Man City, which is nice because it gives us plenty of time to emotionally prepare for that. However, the gunners will still be very busy with women's FA Cup games as well as FAWSL Continental Cup games.