Williams scores twice as Reading battle past Arsenal
Fara Williams returned to haunt her former club with two goals for Reading at Meadow Lane.
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup match
14:00, Sunday 5 November 2017
Boreham Wood FC
Arsenal Goal Scorers: Mead 67'
Reading FC Women Goal Scorers: Williams 52',65'
Fara Williams’ sensational centre-spot strike sealed a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Reading against her former club Arsenal at Meadow Lane.
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, Kirsty Pearce half-volleying from a corner kick to the left of goal 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.
Reading went close late-on 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 with Jodie Taylor almost finding the top corner two minutes after the break.
But Reading scored the first goal on 56 minutes, 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 goalpost.
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 saved by Moloney on 74 minutes and Mead threatening the Reading defence but a second goal didn’t come.
Reading's Kelly Chambers said:
“It was important for us to win this game today, as it helps to continue our momentum and confidence.
"It was also important for us to show how far we have come not only as a club but also as a team.
“The fact we’re actually starting to compete with teams like this is great. This is what we want to do this season, and that is something we showed today.
“Fara’s goal was fantastic. That’s the calibre of player Fara Williams is, and that’s why we brought her to the club.
“She has been a great addition to the squad, and she’s our top goal scorer. People would probably not have expected that from us signing her, but she’s got a new lease of life as a player.
“Fara’s playing really well with loads of confidence at the minute and that’s great.”
Arsenal's Beth Mead said:
“I think 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.”
Williams 56, 63
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Anna Moorhouse; Jemma Rose, Louise Quinn, Leah Williamson, Emma Mitchell; Danielle van de Donk, Jordan Nobbs; Heather O’Reilly, Lauren James, Vivianne Miedema; Jodie Taylor
Substitutes: Dominique Janssen for Williamson 38, Beth Mead for Taylor 57, Danielle Carter for Quinn 62
Substitutes not used: Sari van Veenendaal, Alex Scott, Lisa Evans, Taylor Hinds
Bookings: Quinn 49
Reading (4-3-3): Grace Moloney; Rebecca Jane, Kirsty Pearce (c), Jo Potter, Harriet Scott; Fara Williams, Remi Allen, Molly Bartrip; Brooke Chaplen, Lauren Bruton, Rachel Furness
Substitutes: Kirsty Linnett for Bartrip 72, Rachel Rowe for Chaplen 77, Anna Green for Bruton 90
Substitutes not used: Mary Earps, Mandy van den Berg, Georgia Clifford
Bookings: Bruton 29, Allen 33
Referee: Matt Buonassisi
England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on 24 November, KO 7.05pm. Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at www.thefa.com/tickets