Last month, Faye White missed the decisive spot-kick in England’s World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to France. This weekend, she lifted the WSL trophy as her Arsenal side were crowned champions.
As Sunday’s fixtures began, the title still had two possible destinations. Arsenal knew that a win at bottom club Liverpool would guarantee them the title, while in Yorkshire, Birmingham City were at Doncaster hoping to take advantage of any possible slip-up from the Gunners.
However, just nine minutes into the top against bottom clash at Skelmersdale, Rachel Yankey fired home to settle any Arsenal nerves. After 36 mintes she did it again, prodding home Ellen White’s cross to ensure that news of Birmingham leading at the Keepmoat was immaterial.
On the hour mark, Katie Brusell ensured that Arsenal weren’t going to have things all their own way when she tapped into an empty net after Faye White collided with her own goalkeeper, Emma Byrne.
The champagne was back on ice with 15 minutes left though as Liverpool defender Emma Jones pulled back Ellen White in the box to concede a penalty. If Kim Little was feeling the pressure of taking such an important spot-kick, it certainly didn’t show, as she drove the ball into the roof of the net to restore Arsenal’s two goal lead and ensure that the trophy would be going to North London.
In her wildest dreams, Faye White might have been hoping to lift the World Cup this summer. That wasn’t to be, but the England and Arsenal skipper says it is good to taste success again.
“Going to a World Cup and representing your country is a great experience and one I’d never want to change,” she said after the game.
“Obviously it was disappointing for it to end the way it did, but it’s nice to have some success again at club level – winning trophies is something you never take for granted.”
Certainly, Arsenal weren’t allowed to take it for granted this season as they were pushed every step of the way by a young Birmingham side who led the division for the majority of the season.
According to White, this is great news for the women’s game. She added: “We were in the position of having to chase this season, which isn’t something we’re used to. But it’s good to see a competitive league that has gone down to the very last day.”
After celebrating their title win, Arsenal and Faye White will be hoping to add to their haul of silverware in the League Cup which begins next weekend. All eight WSL teams will compete in the quarter-finals, with Arsenal again travelling to play Liverpool.
Tags: Arsenal Ladies, Birmingham Ladies, Faye White, Rachel Yankey, Women's Football, Women's Super League