Emirates side emerges triumphant against Stamford Bridge club at Imperial Fields.
Arsenal Ladies earned the first three points of the FA Women’s Super League yesterday over a dogged Chelsea Ladies team.
Gunner’s defender Gilly Flaherty scored the only goal of the game in front of 2,510 fans at Tooting and Mitcham FC’s Imperial Fields.
Arsenal started the brighter on what was a difficult pitch for both sides, but it was Chelsea who came closest to scoring early on.
The Blues’ Ashlee Hincks struck first-time from 25 yards nearly catching goalkeeper Emma Byrne cold but the ball sailed inches wide of the top corner.
Carly Telford produced some wonderful saves in the Chelsea goal as Arsenal cranked up the pressure.
But Telford could not hold out forever. After 33 minutes, a Kim Little corner was missed by two Blue defenders and found left-back Flaherty unmarked.
She stayed calm and steered the ball home from five yards.
There was no shortage of commitment after the break despite a pitch that was producing uneven bounce.
Chelsea took a more direct approach but the Gunners centre-backs Faye White and Ciara Grant stood firm.
Arsenal could have sealed the win when White nearly got on the end of Little’s free-kick but could not test the keeper.
The Reds closed out the game despite Chelsea’s best efforts and secured the first win in Super League history.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Carly Telford; Sophie Perry, Claire Rafferty (Emma Plewa 89), Kylie Davies (c), Gemma Bonner; Danni Buet, Hayley Moorwood, Leanne Champ, Danni Bird; Ashlee Hincks (Becky Jane 75), Helen Lander (Lara Fay 68).
Unused subs Sarah Quantrill, Shelby Hills.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Emma Byrne; Step Houghton, Ciara Grant, Faye White, Gilly Flaherty (Jordan Nobbs 89); Niamh Fahey, Katie Chapman; Rachel Yankey, Ellen White, Kim Little (Laura Bruton 90); Jennifer Beattie (Danielle Carter 60).
Unused subs Rebecca Spencer, Yvonne Tracy.
Goal Flaherty (37).
Referee Sasa Ihringova
Attendance 2, 510