Arsenal Women stepped up their preparations for the upcoming Champions League qualifier with FC Okzhetpes with a 4-0 friendly game win over Sp*rs Women in Jonas Eidevall’s first game in charge.
Played at White Hart Lane in front of a small crowd in the aftermath of the men’s 1-0 defeat, the Gunners were dominant from the off but struggled to create any chances of real note in a scrappy opening.
A tame header by Anna Patten – easily claimed by keeper Becky Spencer – and a long-range effort by Frida Maanum, which flew over the bar, made for slim pickings in the final third.
Slowly but surely, the Gunners started to find more space. Alex Hennessy thought she’d sprung the offside trap on 31 minutes collecting a neat through ball but as she attempted to round Spencer, the flag went up. It was a very close call.
Eventually, the Gunners’ constant probing paid dividends. Beth Mead played in Anna Patten, overlapping down the right, and her inviting cross was converted at the back post by the head of Alex Hennessy. Only a couple of yards from goal the striker’s effort very satisfyingly caressed the underside of the bar nestling in the back of the net.
The Gunners were largely untroubled in defence but were thankful for a crunching tackle by Teyah Goldie on Jessica Naz just before the break as the hosts finally showed some attacking intent.
The home side came close to an early leveller when Naz clipped the bar but Arsenal soon regained their composure and mounted a siege on the Sp*rs goal.
Spencer clawed away a low McCabe free-kick after Patten was felled on the edge of the box, Hennessy nearly poked home after pouncing on a loose ball in the six-yard box after Maanum’s initial shot was fumbled and Lisa Evans failed to hit the target after latching onto a delightful Mead cross. Two minutes later, Patten headed over.
The Gunners nearly paid for their profligacy as first Chioma Ubogagu and then Angela Addison threatened. The latter’s effort flew just past Zinsberger’s post.
Eidevall’s players heeded the warning and finally extended their lead with 25 minutes remaining. After Mead had been tugged down in the box, McCabe took responsibility for the penalty and found the top corner with aplomb.
A kick to the ankle ended Mead’s evening with nine minutes remaining. She seemed pretty naffed off by the situation as she limped back to the bench where she was greeted by a large ice pack. Having lost Jordan Nobbs last weekend, the Gunners will be hoping the forward recovers before the trip to Moscow.
The Gunners came on strong in the closing stages. Anna Patten made it 3-0 with a low drive that found the net via the post and Hennessy helped herself to a second in stoppage time as she tapped into an empty net from close range.
After the game, Eidevall gathered his players in a circle for a post-game debrief. It ended with them briefly applauding each other for a decent day at the office.