Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mead scores twice as Arsenal beat 10-man Brighton in WSL opener

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England star Beth Mead scored twice as Arsenal opened their Barclays Women’s Super League season with a dominant 4-0 win over Brighton.

Forty-eight days after England’s historic Euro 2022 triumph over Germany at Wembley Stadium, the WSL season opened in a packed Meadow Park after last week’s scheduled round of play was postponed due to the Queen’s death.

Lionesses captain Leah Williamson and Golden Boot winner Mead were back in the spotlight and were back on the winning side as Arsenal secured all three points.

Brighton were already facing a difficult task trying to get something out of Friday night’s game after eight losses in eight games against the Gunners.

And the guests’ evening was shaken up when Emma Kullberg showed a smooth red after just seven minutes.

When Stina Blackstenius stormed towards Brighton’s goal, Kullberg brought down her fellow Swede and referee Lisa Benn was left with no choice but to send off the stricken defender.

Jonas Eidevall’s side, just a point shy of beating Chelsea last season, were in full control and the breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Kim Little scored, just after Elisabeth Terland missed a chance that to put Seagulls in the lead.

Terland had a rare sight of the Arsenal goal but pulled her shot wide. Ninety seconds later, the home team struck.

Caitlin Foord dazzled down the Gunners’ left and her pinpoint retreat was expertly converted by Scotland international Little.

Arsenal almost doubled their lead when Blackstenius hit the bar four minutes later and Megan Walsh then saved Lia Walti after a fine save at half-time. Somehow Hope Powell’s Brighton were just a goal behind at the break.

But five minutes into the second half, Blackstenius put the result in no doubt as she scored Arsenal’s second goal.

Mead placed the ball on a plate for Blackstenius and the Sweden international whipped her shot into the roof of the net.

Mead was named Euros Player of the Tournament after scoring six goals in England’s run to glory. And she found the back of the net just after the hour.

Little and Vivianne Miedema helped set it up while Mead came home cool.

Nine minutes from time, Jordan Nobbs’ shot hit the woodwork before Mead pounced on a lovely save from Walsh to score for the second time in front of 3,238 fans – and issued an early title warning to rivals’ Chelsea, who travel to Liverpool on Sunday.

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