Arsenal thump Reading on opening day
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Women’s Super League: Arsenal 6 Reading 1
Arsenal began their 2020/21 Women’s Super League season with a thumping 6-1 victory over Reading at Meadow Park.
Jill Roord scored the first hat-trick of the new campaign as Vivianne Miedema netted a double with Kim Little starting the rout after a stunning Leah Williamson pass.
Roord had the first opening of the game inside three minutes when she fired just wide with a first-time effort from the edge of the area after some neat build up play.
Manuela Zinsberger was the first of the goalkeepers to be called into action when Jess Fishlock was nearly played in by former Arsenal striker Carter but she was off her line quickly to claim the loose ball.
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Arsenal took the lead on 15 minutes when Williamson played an inch perfect pass into Little and the captain fired home a sublime first time finish beyond the reach of Royals keeper Grace Moloney.
Reading were pressing forward well but the Gunners were looking a real danger going forward and on the counter attack and it could have been two on 28 minutes when Steph Catley was close to a debut goal.
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The Australian international fizzed in a free-kick from just outside the area that sailed over the wall and Moloney but her effort crashed off the crossbar and bounced away to safety for the Royals.
Arsenal then did double their advantage as Miedema hit her first goal of the season, Catley played a fantastic ball down the flank for Nobbs who then played a pinpoint pass into the striker who won last seasons Golden Boot and she did the rest rounding the keeper to slot into the empty net.
Miedema was once again involved a minute later as she was played in on goal one on one but her effort was well saved by Moloney once more as she got off her line quickly to make a crucial block.
Reading could have pulled a goal back two minutes later when Emma Mitchell fizzed a cross in for Amalie Eikeland but her low effort was well blocked by the leg of Williamson.
It was three five minutes before the break after the Gunners broke free following a Reading set-piece and Beth Mead drove into space before teeing up Roord allowing the Dutch international to drill the ball into the bottom corner.
Zinsberger was forced into the first save of the second half as Reading took a short corner allowing Welsh international Angharad James to get a shot away but her effort was well held by the Austrian stopper.
Kelly Chambers side then had another good opportunity to pull a goal back after neat link-up play from Jess Fishlock and Emma Mitchell but the former Arsenal star curled her effort just wide of the post.
Moloney than made an excellent save to keep out Miedema as Roord burst though the middle before squaring the ball to the Netherlands striker but her effort was well kept out by the Republic of Ireland stopper.
Arsenal than thought they had their fourth after another slick move forward when Jordan Nobbs curled the ball into the net after a quick counter attack but the flag was raised for offside disallowing the goal when she looked very much to be onside.
However Joe Montemurro’s side did have their fourth on 62 minutes when Roord grabbed her second of the game after a sublime team move, Beth Mead playing the ball into Roord who flicked the ball into the path of Little before she returned the favour for Roord to drill into the empty net.
Minutes later Miedema was inches away from scoring her second when she sailed into the box before rounding Moloney but her effort was cleared off the line by Molly Bartrip before she clipped the top of the bar via the rebound.
Arsenal then made a triple change on 69 minutes bringing on Danielle van de Donk, Leonie Maier and Caitlin Foord for her WSL debut taking off Catley, Wälti and Mead.
Moloney then came to the Royals aid once more as she made another sublime save off the line as Miedema got in once again but her effort was well kept out by the fine reactions of the keeper.
Arsenal then made a further two changes as Swiss International Malin Gut came on for her debut as Lisa Evans also entered the play replacing Nobbs and Little.
Montemurro’s side did have their fifth though when Miedema added her second with a stunning strike from outside the box, her effort arrowing into the top corner.
It was six two minutes later when Roord completed her hat-trick after yet another fine team move as Miedema danced her way around the Reading defence before she played the ball into Foord before she unselfishly picked out Roord to slam in her hat-trick.
Foord was then close to making it seven as the energetic Australian cut inside before she curled her effort just over the crossbar when it looked as if it was dipping into the top corner of the net.
On 86 minutes Carter was close to netting a goal on her return to Meadow Park as she fizzed a strike from distance that caught Zinsberger rooted to the spot and cracked the post before bouncing away.
Carter didn’t give up and was a real bright spark for the Royals as she took advantage of a Zinsberger error catching the keeper in possesion before sliding the ball into the empty net to complete the scoring.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Catley, Wälti, Roord, Little, Nobbs,Miedema, Mead.
Subs used: Evans, Gut, Foord, van de Donk, Maier.
Reading: Moloney, Leine, Mitchell, Wiliams, Bartrip, James, Fishlock, Eikeland, Harding, Cooper, Carter.
Subs used: Rowe, Bruton.