WSL: Arsenal 1 Reading 2
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Fara Williams’ sensational centre-spot strike sealed a hard-fought victory for Reading against former club Arsenal at Meadow Lane on Sunday.
Williams scored either side of Beth Mead’s strike in an open game full of chances for both sides.
Both teams started the game well, but it was Reading who had the first chance, with Kirsty Pearce half-volleying wide from a corner on 11 minutes.
Reading counter-attacked on the half-hour but Brooke Chaplen was denied a shot on goal by Arsenal’s defence.
The home side came back immediately as Vivianne Miedema found space to shoot, only to see her effort saved by Grace Moloney on 31 minutes.
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Reading went close late in the first half with Jo Potter’s 43rd-minute free-kick skimming the top of the upright.
Arsenal started the second half the better of the two sides, with Jodie Taylor almost finding the top corner two minutes after the break.
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But Reading scored the first goal on 56 minutes, with Williams poking home a Lauren Bruton cross.
Substitute Mead almost made an immediate impact for Arsenal two minutes later, but her shot spun right of the post.
Mead then gave the visitors their equaliser on 62 minutes, striking the ball calmly past Moloney from the left.
Yet Williams caught the whole Arsenal team unaware from the restart, scoring sensationally from the centre circle.
Arsenal came close to an equaliser with Danielle Carter finding space on the right, only to be denied by Moloney on 74 minutes, while Mead threatened Reading’s defence as a second goal failed to materialise.
Mead said: “It was a scrappy game. We knew what type of team Reading were as they like to be quite physical.
“We got ourselves back into the game but gave it away straight from the kick-off.
“We know that’s not good enough, especially when it’s Fara Williams on the ball. You need to be aware of what could happen, and I think that was the disappointing thing.
“The girls will probably take a long hard look at themselves and be really disappointed with that second goal.
“It’s always nice to come on and make an impact, but I’m just disappointed with the game. It will be a long week to our next game.”
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Moorhouse; Rose, Quinn (Carter 62), Williamson (Janssen 38), Mitchell; van de Donk, Nobbs; O’Reilly, James, Miedema; Taylor (Mead 57).
Unused subs: Sari van Veenendaal, Alex Scott, Lisa Evans, Taylor Hinds
Referee: Matt Buonassisi.
*England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on November 24, (7.05pm). Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at thefa.com/tickets.