In a close contest at Meadow Park that was tight from the off, Reading took the fight to Arsenal, who managed to seal a late winner with a Kim Little goal in the 86th minute to progress to the Semi-Final of the Continental Cup.
The early stages of the game saw both sides creating chances; Lisa Evans breaking away on a couple of occasions, forcing a save from Rachel Laws, and Lisa-Marie Utland causing the home side’s defence problems at the other end.
Reading’s first shot came on the 20 minute mark when Jo Potter won a great ball from Arsenal on the halfway line and played a clever ball into Fara Williams, who laid it off to Angharad James, whose shot was well placed, but saved by Manuela Zinsberger. Eikeland was next to get a shot in on the Arsenal goal, but her effort was high, going over the bar. Jill Roord came close at the other end, her side-footed effort rolling just wide of Laws’ post and out for a goal kick.
Roord had another chance just before half time, which beat Laws, but Rowe was able to slide in and get in front of the ball, almost on the goal-line to deny her. Roord managed to get a second shot away, but Laws was back up to her feet and saved the shot, pushing it wide.
Half time: Arsenal Women 0-0 Reading FC Women
A great run from Allen released Williams one minute into the second half, her shot was saved byu Zinsberger and the rebound fell to Utland who managed to play it back to Williams, but her shot hit the post.
In what was seeming to becoming tit-for-tat with chances, Roord had yet another attempt at the other end, but Laws managed to get down quickly to make a good save.
The pace of the game quickened, as did tempers, as both sides chased the win, taking it in turns to go on the attack.
Laws made an incredible save to tip the ball onto her post, before managing to catch it before it crossed the line.
Williams had a twenty-yard shot punched away dramatically by Zinsberger before Arsenal went down the other end and substitute Miedema tried to lob Laws, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.
The winner did come, however, on the 86th minute, when Arsenal broke down the right and put a ball into Kim Little, who slotted away.
Reading kept fighting until the end, but time was against them and the Royals bowed out of the Continental Cup with the blow of the referees whistle.
Full time: Arsenal Women 1-0 Reading FC Women
Arsenal Women: Zinsberger, Williamson, Van De Donk (Miedema 63), Nobbs, Little, Roord (Walti 73), McCabe, Quinn, Evans, Maier (Schnaderbeck 89), Mead.
Unused subs: Peyraud-Magnin, Grant, Filis
Goal: Little (86).
Reading FC Women: Laws, Williams, Bartrip, James (Farrow 87), Allen, Eikeland, Harding, Utland (Chaplen 60), Moore, Potter, Rowe.
Unused subs: Leine, Pacheco, Farrow, Bennink, Howard, Stewart
Yellow: Moore, James.