Two goals for Fara Williams against her former side – one of which was a Bonfire Night banger from the centre circle – saw Reading FC Women pick up a terrific victory against Arsenal in the group stages of the Continental Cup.
Victory against the four-time competition winners has put the Royals in a commanding position to qualify for the knock-out stages as one of the top two in Group One South.
An entertaining game was goalless at the break, but not for lack of chances. Royals skipper Kirsty Pearce was first to go close, half-volleying wide from a corner routine early on, and Dutch international Vivianne Miedema escaped clear on goal but was denied by Reading goalie Grace Moloney.
Jo Potter could have put the Royals ahead before the interval, but the free-kick rose narrowly over the frame of goal.
Soon after the restart, Reading had the lead – Williams, formerly on the books with the Gunners, poked in from close range as Lauren Bruton’s corner kick wasn’t dealt with.
Beth Mead, on as a sub for the Gunners, was the one to get them back on terms; soon after squandering a decent chance, she received the ball again on the left and this time converted the opportunity.
parity lasted just a single kick of the football. The Royals regathered in their own half for the kick-off, which Williams took… rather than passing to a teammate, she instead launched a shot at goal from the centre spot – catching Gunner goalie Anna Moorhouse unaware and nestling in the back of the net!
Arsenal could have rescued a point through Danielle Carter as she found space on the right, but Moloney stood strong again and ensured that the points would be Reading’s.
After the match, Royals manager Kelly Chambers said: “It’s a fantastic win. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game but it was important for us to show how far we’ve come and that we can compete with the likes of Arsenal and today showed that and I’m really happy for the girls.
“Fara’s goal just shows the calibre of player she is. She has been a great addition for us and that’s shown by how many goals she’s got so far. She looks like she has a new lease of life – she’s scoring goals, she’s confident and she’s enjoying her football, so may long it continue.”