Women's Super League: Arsenal celebrate title with Doncaster win

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
Arsenal have won their second straight Women's Super League title
Arsenal have won their second straight Women's Super League title

Arsenal have been crowned champions of England for the 11th time in 12 years.

The all-conquering Gunners had sealed the Women's Super League title before their game against Doncaster Rovers Belles kicked off.

Second-placed Bimingham City needed to beat Bristol Academy earlier in the day but could only draw 2-2.

Arsenal then celebrated their ninth-straight league triumph by beating the Belles 3-2 to maintain the WSL's only unbeaten record.

With one game left, the Blues should finish runners-up. They are three points ahead of Everton with a vastly superior goal difference.

"We're delighted to have won the league again and it's great to have done it at home," said Arsenal boss Laura Harvey. "Our top priority every season is to win the league, so it's job done there, but we've now got three big games coming up so we have to keep our focus.

"We've got Barcelona in the Champions League, followed by Birmingham in our last league game and then Blues again in the Continental Cup. We beat them in the Continental Cup final last year and aim to do it again."

Two first-half own goals and a strike from Kelly Smith gave the Gunners victory over Doncaster.

Lyndsey Cunningham put through her own met on 16 minutes before Belles striker Aine O'Gorman levelled the scores with a 35-yard lob four minutes later. Arsenal then re-took the lead when Tanya Oxtoby headed into her own net on 32 minutes.

What proved the winner arrived in the 81st minute, substitute Smith racing on to a Kim Little throughball to shoot home.

Two minutes from time, Little reduced the arrears after goalkeeper Emma Byrne dropped the ball at her feet.

Birmingham made the best possible start in their lunchtime kick-off as they looked to keep Arsenal hanging on the for title. The visitors took the lead after just 58 seconds when Rachel Williams headed home.

Bristol drew level on 11 minutes when Spanish striker Laura Del Rio left defender Emily Westwood in her wake before chipping neatly into the top corner.

Blues should have added to their tally after being awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute. However, striker Jodie Taylor's spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Siobhan Chamberlain who pushed the ball past the post.

Defender Angharad James put the home side in front with a tremendous 20-yard drive four minutes after the restart, but Jade Moore forced home an equaliser from close range just six minutes later.

The home side began to build pressure, but Birmingham held firm to put the end-of-season runners-up spot firmly within their grasp.


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