Reading Women’s unbeaten run came to an end at Meadow Park, as a buoyant Arsenal side took the points in the WSL1.
Arsenal started the brighter of the two sides, with Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter forcing smart saves from Reading ‘keeper Mary Earps in the opening minutes.
Earps was soon in action again to thwart Vivanne Miedema following a swift break. Only a last-ditch block by Rachel Rowe denied Miedema before Little curled an 18-yard right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty box beyond the despairing Earps.
Miedema should have doubled the lead on 25 minutes, after Van de Donk put her clean through, but Earps saved.
Arsenal continued to pile on the pressure and Janssen nodded home Nobbs’ right-wing corner on 27 minutes. Rachel Rowe fired a long-range effort over the crossbar and Lauren Bruton fizzed a cross beyond onrushing teammates but the half belonged to Arsenal with Little the standout player on show.
Reading started the second half with more purpose and energy and hit back with a brilliant left-footed volley from Fara Williams from a right-wing corner on 49 minutes, Williams has been somewhat of a specialist in outstanding goals this season and added another to her collection.
Reading continued to push forward but were undone when Van de Donk burst forward and hit Arsenal’s third to ease any home concerns of a comeback.
Reading coach Kelly Chambers said after the game: “We lost the game in the first half-hour.
“We were slow to start but the last 15 minutes we created a lot of chances and had them pinned back in their own half.
“We were loose in possession today and haven’t been in recent games when we’ve controlled possession.
“A few players were off that side of it, we didn’t press enough and against teams like this you cannot afford to do that.
“But we then started the second half bright, nicked a good goal at a good time but the first half hour took it out of us physically to last for the rest of the game.
“We just didn’t have enough tonight.”
Reading host Everton at Adams Park on Sunday. Looking ahead to Reading’s next clash, Chambers feels her team is going in the right direction:“We’ll look at this result, learn from it, analyse it, then it’s done and we’ll look ahead to Sunday.
“We’ve had a fantastic run over the last five games before this match against Arsenal. We’ve taken 13 from fifteen points, which have included games against Manchester City and Chelsea.
“We’re in our second season of full-time football and we are still building. “We know we need to grow and develop the team more, we need to bring in more players and have a bigger squad to allow us to make rotations and change things.”
Arsenal: Van Veenendaal, Evans, Mitchell (McCabe 70), Williamson, Quinn, Nobbs, Janssen, Van de Donk, Miedema, Little (c) (Mead 82), Carter (O'Reilly 78).
Subs: Moorhouse, Kuyken, Ngunga, Cooke.
Goals: Little 9, Janssen 27, Van de Donk 64.
Reading FC Women: Earps, Rowe, Potter, Pearce (c), Harding, Moore, Williams, Furness, Allen (Linnett 74), Chaplen (Scott 68), Bruton.
Subs: Moloney, Jane, Fletcher.
Goals: Williams 50