Mackenzie Arnold was delighted that her side were able to pick up their first ever point over Arsenal in the Barclays Women’s Super League.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper was in sensational form at Chigwell Construction Stadium, making a number of vital saves to keep the scoreline at 0-0, and thus claim that first ever accolade over the Gunners.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though, and particularly in the first half, the Irons were hot on the toes of Arsenal – who struggled with the intensity of the press from Paul Konchesky’s team.
And at the other end, Australia international Arnold was there, alongside her backline, who threw themselves in front of several shots that Arsenal aimed towards goal.
Arnold was delighted that her side came away with a point and a clean sheet at the full-time whistle.
“The whole team deserved to come away with the point, the goalkeeper told whufc.com.
“We were under a lot of pressure in the second half, but thankfully we held it together and got a really important point against a tough side.
“Everyone is really happy in the dressing room, and we’re all really pleased to be able to come away with something against a top opponent.”
The Hammers have been in a good run of form over recent weeks, reaching the semi-finals of the Conti Cup and the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup with wins over Liverpool and Wolves respectively.
But they were yet to pick up a point in 2023 in the league, and Arnold was pleased that they were able to do so against an incredibly strong opponent, whilst also making sure they picked up another clean sheet.
“I think we are really starting to come together as a team now. It was our fifth clean sheet in the last seven games, so that’s something to be really proud of from a defensive perspective.
“Hopefully we can start scoring a few more goals and turning the draws into wins, but credit to the team for sticking to the clean sheet.
“It was really difficult, but credit to the team for staying focused. Against a squad like Arsenal, you expect to be under the pump a lot of the time, but we held it out and thankfully got the point.”
A point against the Gunners in front of a record crowd at the Chigwell Construction Stadium shows the progression that the side are making under Konchesky. The boss had reiterated his aim to try and take points from the ‘top four’ in the WSL, and that’s the first time that his side have been able to do so under his stewardship.
Arnold says that the team have to take it one game at a time, but nights like Sunday show that her side are moving in the right direction when it comes to challenging against the very best.
“I think we have to take it one game at a time. We were under the pump for a good 45 minutes, so we still need to get up the pitch a little bit more if we can.
“The result though is massive, it’s a really big push in the right direction, and it’s exactly the sort of result that can help us moving forward.
“The fans played a big part, you could really hear them tonight. It’s always great to have the numbers cheering us on and it’s so important to have them behind us. We love having so many fans in and we hope that they keep coming back.
We will need them again against Chelsea on Thursday, so we hope that people can be there to help us try and reach the final," she concluded.
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