Tobin Heath’s stoppage time strike was enough for WSL leaders Arsenal to rescue a point after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
City looked to be on course for a fifth straight league game after Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s controversial 65th-minute strike gave them the advantage.
Arsenal, who had manager Jonas Eidevall booked for the second straight game, were unhappy with referee Abigail Byrne after the ball hit her in the build-up to Shaw’s goal, but the Gunners showed plenty of fighting spirit as they eventually got back on level terms.
It was substitute Heath who grabbed the equaliser with a clinical finish to stun Gareth Taylor’s side.
The draw sees Arsenal stay top of the WSL and they extend their lead over Man Utd to two points having played a game less than Marc Skinner’s side.
Meanwhile, City, who have also played a game more than the Gunners, missed out on cutting the gap to the league leaders to three points. They stay fifth, one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham and two behind third-placed Chelsea.
Should Man City’s opener have counted?
Sky Sports’ Karen Carney:
“There was some controversy surrounding Man City’s goal and from my understanding the referee is obliged to stop the play if it changes possession and in this case the ball still went to a Man City player.
“So, they went on and I still felt there was time for Arsenal to defend.
“However, the deflection changed the pass and I felt it gave City an advantage, but by the rules the referee doesn’t have to stop the play and it isn’t a drop ball necessarily.”
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall to Sky Sports: “I was animated at the time, everyone stops playing because it hits the referee and I think she has to answer the question as to why she let the game go on. When you look in the rule book, how can you allow play to go on?
“In games like these there are such small margins. I’m not going to say that that’s why we didn’t win the game but we’re fighting so hard so it’s easy to understand why I was so animated because I feel we were left disadvantaged by that incident.”
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor to Sky Sports: “I know there was a definite deflection in the build-up to the goal, but we’ve had our fair share of that this season so it’s nice for one to go our way. I also thought we could have had a stonewall penalty for a foul on Lauren Hemp.”
More from the managers…
‘WSL title race not over’
Man City boss Taylor: “It’s disappointing to come away with just a draw because the performance was there tonight. We spoke at half-time about dominating the play more than we had done, we opened up a lot more and had good opportunities but all in all I thought it was a really solid performance from us.
“Even after Arsenal scored we really went for the win and tried our hardest to get it but it just wasn’t to be tonight. Khiara Keating made some good saves, everything she did she showed real maturity and considering her age I thought she was excellent.
“For us, I think it’s about the small details now, a game is won and lost in both boxes. We’re a different team now to what we were at the start of the season. We’ve found our rhythm and tempo and we have a lot of players back, it’s a simple formula really.
“The top of the league is exciting, there are plenty of teams in the mix and it’s full steam ahead for us now, the title race is definitely not over.”
‘Result is fundamental for us’
Arsenal boss Eidevall: “It was so important that we got a reward for all the hard work we put into our performance.
“For Manchester City to get the goal the way they did, we needed to not lose our heads, we needed to fight for every second and I think we deserved our goal.
“This result is fundamental for us, tough moments make football teams and today’s point is important for the title race but we said at the start of the season that we wanted to improve in these big games and so far we’ve beaten Chelsea and City at home and now we’ve drawn against City away. We’re happy with that but not content.”
Man Utd keep pressure on leaders Arsenal
Manchester United kept up the pressure on Women’s Super League leaders Arsenal with an impressive 3-0 win against Tottenham.
Vilde Boe Risa volleyed the hosts into the lead after 38 minutes before Hayley Ladd scored a second ahead of the interval.
Leah Galton added her side’s third in the second half as United recorded their sixth victory in as many matches to move above Chelsea and one point behind Arsenal, who face Manchester City in Sunday’s late kick-off.
Chelsea held at Brighton
United were able to take advantage of Chelsea’s goalless draw at Brighton.
Erin Cuthbert came the closest to scoring for the Blues when her second-half strike cannoned off the crossbar.
Chelsea had 26 attempts but were unable to find a breakthrough – the first time Emma Hayes’ side have failed to find the back of the next in 60 WSL matches, a streak which stretches back to October 2018.
Villa strike late to stun Leicester
Aston Villa ended a four-match losing run with a 2-1 win at Leicester.
Jemma Purfield’s own goal provided the visitors with the lead after just four minutes before Leicester were back on level terms with 14 minutes remaining when Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton turned Purfield’s corner into her own net.
But Alisha Lehmann struck deep into stoppage time as Villa took all three points.
Reading win fourth straight WSL game
Reading secured a brilliant 3-2 comeback win against bottom side Birmingham to record a fourth straight WSL victory.
Gemma Lawley and Jade Pennock fired the Blues into a 2-0 lead inside 36 minutes.
But Justine Vanhaevermaet pulled one back in first-half stoppage time before Natasha Dowie scored Reading’s second from the penalty spot moments after the interval.
Emma Harries then completed the fightback with an impressive volley after 55 minutes.
West Ham up to seventh
West Ham secured a comfortable 3-0 home win against Everton to move up to seventh in the table.
Katerina Svitkova opened the scoring for the Hammers with four minutes of the opening period remaining before Dagny Brynjarsdottir doubled her side’s tally shortly before the hour mark.
Claudia Walker made sure of the victory when she netted a third in the closing stages.