Conti Cup: Arsenal 9 London Bees 0
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal emphatically secured top spot in Group B of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup with a convincing win over London Bees at Meadow Park on Wednesday.
Katie McCabe bagged a hat-trick, while Melisa Filis and Lisa Evans both scored twice for Gunners side that made eight changes from their last league game, but still had more than enough quality to deliver the goods.
In fact, it could have been more had it not been for an inspired performance from Bees' keeper Sarah Quantrill, who produced a string of fine saves.
It was Bees who made the stronger start to proceedings, Flo Gamby bringing forcing Pauline Peyraud-Magnin into action inside a minute with a header following good work from Lauren Pickett.
But from then on Arsenal looked comfortable, taking the lead on eight minutes when McCabe tapped home Filis's low cross.
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She added a second half an hour later, firing a Vivianne Miedema cut-back into the top corner.
Quantrill did her best to keep the scoreline down, denying Miedema and Ruby Grant one-on-one, and pushing powerful strikes from Jill Roord and Grant around the post. But she couldn't stop Filis making it three just before half time, the winger arriving to slide the ball into the net from Miedema's outside-of-the-foot cross.
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Half-time subs Beth Mead and Lisa Evans combined just moments after the break to add a fourth, before Mead walked through a static defence to make it five sixty seconds later.
McCabe wrapped up her hat-trick from an Evans cross inside an hour, and, after more Quantrill heroics had kept the Gunners at bay for a while, a late flurry of goals from Filis, Louise Quinn, and Evans put a gloss on the scoreline.
McCabe said: "I'm delighted with how the team performed tonight, with the young kids coming in as well, Ruby and Mel and we could give our old veterans a rest too, which is nice.
"We just demand the best from each other and that's what creates a winning team, a winning mentality. It was frustrating to lose the cup last year so we're looking to move into the next round with confidence and win it back this year.
"We wanted to come out and make a statement and finish top of the group. We knew we wouldn't be gifted the three points tonight and we did what we came here to do. At half time we knew we had to come out fast, not be complacent - they had threats up top, great pace in behind, so we really needed to manage it.
"Me and Beth (Mead) were having a joke at the start of the game because I hadn't scored yet, playing in the deeper role this year. So it was nice to get up and running with the three. But what's important is us going into the next round, the team performance and not my goals!"
Arsenal: Peyraud-Magnin, Maier, Quinn, Beattie (Williamson 18), Mitchell, Roord, Schnaderbeck (Mead 46), Grant, Filis, Miedema (Evans 46), McCabe.
Unused subs: Zinsberger, Pearse.
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