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Disappointment for Ireland's Connolly and Walsh as Arsenal extend Women's Super League lead

The league leaders rallied from a one-goal deficit to seal the win.

Arsenal's Beth Mead celebrates after scoring against Brighton.
Arsenal's Beth Mead celebrates after scoring against Brighton.
Image: PA

ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL BETH Mead proved to be the difference as Arsenal came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 and extend their lead at top of the Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League.

Trailing to the visitors’ first goal in eight matches, Mead’s free-kick presented Vivianne Miedema with a tap-in before she whipped home a direct set-piece as they moved four points clear of Chelsea.

Republic of Ireland’s Megan Connolly started the tie for Brighton but was withdrawn for Aileen Whelan after 22 minutes due to injury.

Goalkeeper Megan Walsh, who was recently called up to Vera Pauw’s side after switching allegiance to Ireland, played the whole game for Brighton.

Arsenal were rocked in the 15th minute by Emma Koivisto’s twisting back-header from 10 yards which looped over Manuela Zinsberger, who was barely off her line. Koivisto had already produced a goal-line clearance at the other end.

It took until the start of the second half for the league leaders to find anything approaching the required level but it was the individual quality of Mead which turned things around.

First her set-piece delivery flew through the penalty area to present Miedema with her first goal in five matches, the assist taking Mead level with Karen Carney’s FA WSL record of 35.

But better was to come with a free-kick curled around the wall and just inside the far post, although questions will be asked of Brighton goalkeeper Megan Walsh’s positioning.

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Arsenal continued to dominate without further goals but it was more than enough to secure a first league win in four matches.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella, and Gavan Casey glance ahead to the Six Nations, chat about the Irish provinces’ progress in Europe, then discuss the latest off-the-pitch drama in Welsh rugby.

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