WSL: Reading 2 Arsenal 3
PUBLISHED: 19:45 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:45 14 January 2018
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Arsenal scored two late goals to overcome a tough Reading side and reach the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup final.
The visitors struck first as Beth Mead seized upon some slack defending to take the lead with just five minutes on the clock.
Two minutes later Reading struck back with Brooke Chaplen cutting inside and finding the back of the net with a rasping shot.
The hosts, bidding to reach their first ever final, grew into the game as the half progressed with Chaplen forcing a good save from the Arsenal goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.
The second half was much more of an open affair as both sides committed players forward to gain advantage.
Remi Allen and Danielle Carter both had efforts to regain the lead but found both Van Veenendaal and Grace Moloney in fine form for their respective clubs.
Moloney, deputising for Mary Earps, was instinctive again deep in the second half as Arsenal looked to cut Reading open with neat build-up play.
But it was the Royals who took advantage as Lauren Bruton struck from the edge of the area, with the hosts good value for their lead.
Reading found all of their hard work undone, though, as Viviana Meidama struck to level proceedings.
And just minutes later and Arsenal snatched the winner with Jordan Nobbs capitalising after a brave parry from Moloney.
Arsenal tightened up as Reading pushed to level proceedings late on, Remi Allen seeing the best opportunity of the closing stages head wide.
Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro said: “I am very proud, fortunately for the fans it was a great cup tie, our character is to compete and work hard, if that is how we do things, then I’m happy.
“The reality is that we had to make a change when we were down, I credit Reading, they are a very good team, they are very well organised and they put you under pressure in really difficult areas, it was a really tense semi-final and that’s what cup football is all about.
“In the first half we lost our way, they scored and then they got on top after 10 minutes, I thought they were the better team and had chances.
“We had chances as well and the game could have gone either way if one of those chances were taken. They are very good in midfield and a team that is well organised, we have to be smarter.”
Arsenal (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal; Mitchell, Williamson, Rose (Quinn 74), Evans; Janssen, Nobbs, Van De Donk; Mead, Carter (O’Reilly 74), Meidama.
Unused subs: Moorhouse, McCabe, James, Hinds, Fillbe.