ENGLISH Champions Arsenal inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Scottish counterparts Glasgow City in an Auld Enemy clash at Petershill yesterday.
City could point to injury problems and the recent loss of players to professional contracts abroad as they struggled against a strong Arsenal side, who are preparing for their Champions League quarter-final against Italian side Torres in a few weeks time.
The hosts got off to a bad start in the ‘Battle of Britain’ challenge match, sponsored by ng homes, when Nicky Docherty brought down the impressive Gemma Davison inside the box after only four minutes.
Up stepped Arsenal’s Scottish playmaker Kim Little and she fired past Lee Alexander in the City goal.
Suzanne Malone hit the bar two minutes later as City almost equalised. Her strike partner Ruesha Littlejohn tried to bundle home the rebound but the visiting defence managed to clear her effort off the line.
Soon after that, England striker Ellen White almost added to Arsenal’s lead when she latched on to a great pass from Jordon Nobbs but she fired wide of the post as she ran towards goal.
However, Arsenal were not to miss their next opening and this time White became the provider for Nobbs, who slotted home from a few yards out.
White had another effort which went wide of Alexander’s goal before City rattled the woodwork again.
Centre-half Danni Pagliarulo rose highest to meet a Leanne Ross corner, but her header crashed off the post and away to safety.
The home side were made to rue that missed chance when Arsenal broke clear soon after with White finishing confidently from inside the box.
Just after the half hour mark, good play from City resulted in Nicky Docherty playing the ball to Leanne Ross at the edge of the box and she, in turn, laid it off first time to Malone. Her 20-yard effort was saved by Emma Byrne in the Arsenal goal.
A bad defensive mistake by City’ gifted the visitors a fourth goal on 36 minutes with Rachel Yankey eventually running through on goal unchallenged to slot past the diving Alexander.
Alexander then pulled off an excellent save to prevent Nobbs’ well-struck shot going into the top corner, before City had a succession of corners before half-time as they tried to claw themselves back into the match – but to no avail.
The second half was once more controlled by the English champions and they were denied a fifth goal by another impressive save from Alexander, who turned a free kick from Arsenal substitute Jade Bailey around the post.
On 78 minutes it did become 5-0 when defender Danica Dalziel, who had come on at half time for Cheryl Gallagher, turned an Arsenal cross into her own net. Afterwards Glasgow City head coach Eddie Wolecki Black said: “It was a very good workout for us and shows us exactly where we are at this stage of the season. It is not a performance we set our standards to and we need to improve, quickly.”
City’s next match is their opening game of the new SWPL season on 17 March when the defending champions take on Rangers at Petershill Park, Springburn, at 2pm.