Glasgow City’s European campaign finally came to an end at the hands of Arsenal last night. A full house at Petershill saw the Scottish champions run the Gunners close but a late winner from Alex Scott denied Eddie Black’s side a deserved draw.
Having lost the first-leg last Saturday at Barnet 3-0, the 3-2 loss at Petershill means City exit at the last 16 stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League with 6-2 aggregate defeat.
City weren’t helped before the match by the suspension of Leanne Ross and illness of Danni Pugliarulo and Leanne Cricthon.
An entertaining first-half saw two goals and plenty of chances for both teams. Arsenal in a changed yellow and blue kit kicked off the first period and soon found themselves a goal to the good down.
City couldn’t have asked for a better start when they took the lead on two minutes through Suzanne Lappin. A Jess Fishlock corner was whipped into the near post where Lappin perfectly positioned to nod the Scottish champs in front with a header into the top corner.
Glasgow’s lead however only lasted nine minutes as Arsenal equalised on 11 minutes through Rachel Yankey. The England international picked up the ball out wide before driving inside and taking a pop from 20 yards which went over the head of Lee Alexander and into the roof of the net.
That was to be the last of the goals for the first-half but it wasn’t for a lack of trying by both sides.
England and Arsenal stalwart, Ellen White had a shot at goal a minute after the Gunners equalised but her effort from just outside the box went well over Alexander’s goal.
With 25 minutes gone, City could have regained the lead through Irish international Denise O’Sullivan. Arsenal defender, Steph Houghton was caught in possession by Lappin on the edge of the box and she set-up her team-mate O’Sullivan but her effort was too low and weak and it was saved comfortably by Emma Byrne.
Scotland international and Arsenal midfield linchpin, Kim Little was causing plenty of problems for the City defence and her swinging cross just past the half hour found Gillly Flaherty, but her header went narrowly wide for the Gunners to keep the scores tied.
On 35 minutes, ex-Hamilton Accies winger Sarah Crilly made a determined run down the wing before unleashing a whipping cross which found Lappin whose set-up to striker Christie Murray deserved a terrific finish however Murray’s volley was skewered just wide of the Arsenal goal.
City’s last chance of the first-half came on 40 minutes. Welsh international Jess Fishlock caused havoc in the Arsenal box with her dangerous free-kick which after a melee found its way to Crilly who was unlucky to see her volley go narrowly wide of goal.
The first real chance of the second-half came Arsenals way on 54 minutes. Ellen White found herself in possession in the City box and her attempt from close range was bravely punched wide by Alexander.
However from the resulting corner the Gunners took the lead for the first time in the match. The Kim Little corner found Gilly Flaherty who headed the ball into the far corner of the net past a helpless Alexander.
The goal was certainly against the tide of play with the majority of the play taking place in the Arsenal half.
With the noisy sell-out crowd at Petershill getting even more vocal they finally got the gaol that their possession deserved. A Jess Fishlock corner found an unmarked Rachel Corsie and the City captain was clinical with her finish as she headed past a poorly positioned Emma Byrne to tie the game.
The wind was certainly in the City sails at this point as they went looking for a winner. Second-half substitute Lisa Robertson went narrowly wide with a volley on 86 minutes and again went close with a minute remaining as her powerful shot towards Byrne near post was expertly tipped wide by the Gunner keeper.
However City were to be denied the draw by a sucker punch in injury time. Kim Little made a run down the wing before delivering a perfect cross along the City goal where Alex Scott was perfectly positioned to blast the ball home to give Arsenal the win.
Next up for Glasgow City is a trip Broadwood Stadium in Airdrie this Sunday to take on Hibernian in the Scottish Cup Final.
After the match, Arsenal manager Shelley Kerr said her side had being in a real tough contest: “It was a very difficult game as Glasgow City made it extremely difficult for us. The result from the first leg makes Glasgow City come out and come at us and we were expecting that to be honest. I’m disappointed to concede two goals from set plays because it’s something we know Glasgow City are very good at. But I think overall we are delighted to be in the quarter-finals.”
City head coach Eddie Wolecki Black was delighted with his side’s performance: “Firstly I would like to say I am very proud of them tonight. I think we certainly didn’t leave anything, they give everything they had out on that park tonight. I am really proud of the performance. I thought they were on the front foot for the whole night and I thought we made it a very difficult night for Arsenal.
“I don’t know how many times Arsenal have been outshot in a game but that was one of them tonight. We as the home side created more chances. It looked like we were going to nick it at one end and we have lost it at the other. I think that was a wee bit tough on us. We certainly didn’t deserve to lose that tonight.”
Glasgow City: Lee Alexander, Jo Love (Lisa Robertson), Christie Murray, Suzanne Lappin, Nicky Docherty, Rachel Corsie, Emma Black (Ruesha Littlejohn), Denise O’Sullivan, Sarah Crilly, Jess Fishlock, Julie Nelson
Subs not used: Danica Dalziel, Emily Thomson
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Steph Houghton, Gilly Flaherty, Jordon Nobbs (Caroline Weir), Ellen White (Kelly Smith), Rachel Yankey, Danielle Carter (Gemma Davison), Kim Little, Katie Chapman, Emma Mitchell, Alex Scott
Subs not used: Yvonne Tracy, Freda Ayisi, Jade Bailey, Cherie Rowlands
Referee: Pemilla Larsson