Arsenal win inaugural Women's Super League

By Tony Leighton Women's football correspondent
Arsenal's Rachel Yankey
Yankey has 113 caps for England, scoring 16 goals

Arsenal were crowned the first Women's Super League champions after two Rachel Yankey goals set them up for a hard-fought 3-1 win at Liverpool.

"It's been a really tough season in this very competitive new league," said Gunners manager Laura Harvey. "But it's great to have come through to win it."

Long-time leaders Birmingham finished three points behind in second place after drawing 2-2 at Doncaster Belles.

Everton finished third following a 3-1 win at Chelsea.

Lincoln took fourth place with a 3-1 home victory over Bristol Academy.

Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal

Yankey opened the scoring after just nine minutes, driving in a 12-yard shot following a neat one-two with striker Danielle Carter.

A fine run and cross by striker Ellen White led to the England winger volleying home the second goal nine minutes before half-time.

The Gunners looked set for a comfortable victory, but 16 minutes into the second half goalkeeper Emma Byrne spilled a cross and striker Katie Brusell slid in the loose ball.

Any pressure the visitors were feeling was eased, however, when Kim Little scored from a 73rd-minute penalty after White had been fouled by defender Emma Jones.

Liverpool's defeat left them bottom of the table while Arsenal, after winning the Premier League seven years in succession, celebrated yet another title.

Doncaster Rovers Belles 2-2 Birmingham City

Blues topped the table from their first match of the season until Arsenal went ahead of them only 10 days before this final round of fixtures.

They looked set for a consolation win after Emily Westwood had given them an eighth-minute lead, which was doubled through a 58th-minute Shelley Cox own goal.

But the Belles bounced back with a late rally which brought them two goals in a dramatic finale.

Defender Kylla Sjoman drilled in a 25-yard free-kick which was deflected into the net two minutes from time.

And as the game went into stoppage time former Birmingham striker Becky Hall levelled the scores direct from a 20-yard free-kick.

Chelsea 1-3 Everton

Everton had to come from behind after poor defending allowed striker Helen Lander in to give Chelsea a third-minute lead.

Winger Gwennan Harries levelled the scores just before the half-hour, forcing the ball home after striker Natasha Dowie's shot hit the crossbar.

The Toffees took the lead when midfielder Fara Williams curled in a 20-yard free-kick two minutes into the second half.

And Dowie hit the clincher after racing on to midfielder Brooke Chaplen's 63rd-minute through-ball.

Lincoln 3-1 Bristol Academy

Lincoln completed a fine second half to the season with their fifth win in seven outings since the Women's World Cup-enforced mid-term break.

Jodie Taylor put them ahead with a 33rd-minute shot that went in off the post, then two minutes after the break the striker doubled her tally with a close-range tap-in.

Seven minutes later Taylor's strike partner Lucy Staniforth curled in a superbly struck 20-yard shot to put the game beyond Bristol.

The visitors got a consolation goal when Corinne Yorston's cross was headed into her own net by Lincoln central defender Casey Stoney.