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Reading FC Women 1 (Follis 66) Arsenal 3 (Losada 47, Williams pen 53,62)
Arsenal produced a three-goal salvo early in the second half to earn a win over Reading FC Women in the second half of the FAWSL Continental Tyres Cup double header at The Hive.
The Royals had scored an upset win over the Gunners whilst a WSL2 club in a previous edition of the competition but there was little sign of a repeat as Arsenal dominated the first half without scoring before Vicky Losada and a Fara Williams double saw the Gunners well clear. Reading had a very good last half hour, reducing the arrears and going close several times but the damage had been done.
A tight opening twenty minutes saw little attacking action but that was to change. Alex Scott fired in a low shot which Reading keeper Mary Earps turned away for a corner. Earps then produced an excellent double save to deny Jordan Nobbs and Losada before the ball was scrambled away on 24 minutes. Scott and Nobbs combined well for the latter to flick a header just wide and Nobbs missed a great chance after a series of first time passes had sent her clear of the Royals defence on 33 minutes.
Jade Boho Sayo had Reading's first sight of goal on 34 minutes but shot straight at Emma Byrne and the half ended with another Nobbs effort going high over Earps' goal as the break came without a goal.
Losada broke the deadlock within two minutes of the restart, firing home from close range. Danielle Van De Donk was brought down in the area shortly after and Williams converted the spot kick for the Gunners' second.
The same pair combined for third Arsenal goal on 62 minutes, which was a beauty. Van De Donk's delicate lofted through ball saw Williams time her run to beat the defence and chip the advancing Earps from the edge of the area.
Reading's Emma Follis had gone close twice before Arsenal's third and it was the lively winger who reduced the deficit with a fine run and curled finish on 66 minutes. Boho Sayo was denied by an excellent Byrne save on 79 minutes as Reading pressed in the latter stages but could not find a second which might have set up a grandstand finish.
A crowd of over 1,000 for the second match proved the attraction of this double header format with many fans staying on from the opener on an entertaining afternoon of FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup action.
Reading FC Women: Mary Earps, Rebecca Jane (sub Harriet Scott 45mins), Kirsty McGee, Molly Bartrip (sub Lois Roche 65mins), Shelly Cox, Rachel Rowe, Kayleigh Hines, Lauren Bruton, Helen Ward (sub Amber Stobbs 80mins), Emma Follis, Jade Boho Sayo. Subs not used: Chloe Sansom, Nia Jones, Remi Allen, Laura May Walkley.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Jemma Rose, Josephine Henning, Casey Stoney, Vicky Losada, Fara Williams (sub Kelly Smith 80mins), Dominique Janssen (sub Natalia Pablos Sanchon 86mins), Jordan Nobbs (sub Marta Corredera 70mins), Katie McCabe, Danielle van de Donk. Subs not used: Sari van Veenendaal, Charlie Devlin, Vyan Sampson, Asisat Oshoala.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Mary Earps rises highest to claim a cross
(middle) Vicky Losada opens the scoring for Arsenal
(bottom) Kirsty McGee is challenged by Danielle van de Donk
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