Birmingham City Ladies 0 Arsenal Ladies 0
BLUES Ladies earned a hard fought point as they contested a second goalless draw of the season with the Gunners on Wednesday evening.
David Parker’s side handed full debuts to goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and midfielder Andrine Hegerberg, whilst forward Bella Linden came on midway through the second half and all three showed plenty of promise, with Norwegian Hegerberg named the player of the match.
Chances were at a premium but the second half became stretched as both sides sought to make the breakthrough.
Asisat Oshoala spurned Arsenal’s best chance in the 47th minute when she was put clean through on goal following hesitant defending, but Berger showed her worth to the side by rushing from her goal to make a fine block.
The hosts’ main chance arrived nine minutes later when Jess Carter released the lively Mel Lawley on the left and she dinked a fine ball into the box, only for Hegerberg to blot an otherwise impressive copybook by heading over the bar from eight yards.
The visitors introduced England international Jordan Nobbs on the hour mark and she made an impact with several inviting crosses into the box but, impressively held together by captain Emily Westwood, the Blues defence held firm.
At the other end, Linden proved what an asset she will be with her pace as she kept the Arsenal defence on their toes and was denied a chance to net the winner by a dubiously raised offside flag.
In the first half, Blues’ best opening arrived in the 34th minute when Lawley worked space but her attempt to find Freda Ayisi in the centre of the box was cut out.
Arsenal, for whom right back Alex Scott was an assured presence throughout, enjoyed good possession at times but in truth never looked like scoring other than their fine chance at the start of the second half and Blues earned the point which keeps them above the Gunners in third place in the table at the halfway point of their campaign.
With numerous players still to return from injury, the prospects look good for Parker’s side to enjoy an exciting second half of the season.
BLUES: Berger, Windell (Peplow 76), Carter, Harrop, Ayisi, Hegerberg, Stringer, Lawley, Wellings (Linden 63), Westwood, Mannion.
Unused subs: Scofield, Edwards, Brown, Johnson, Baggaley.