Thursday 24 March 2016

Match Report: Arsenal 3-1 Reading FC Women

Chambers’ side can take away numerous positives from Arsenal defeat at Boreham Wood

The royals can hold their heads up high after a good performance away to a classy Arsenal side, in what could have been perceived as a baptism of fire into Women's Super League 1.

Arsenal’s Danielle Carter came closest to scoring in a reasonably quiet opening half-an-hour, with the forward seeing her effort expertly cleared off the line by Reading captain Kirsty McGee. The hosts were dangerous on the break and worked a number of promising positions, with Dominique Janssen breaking the deadlock in the 33rd minute when she drove at the Reading back four and planted a low shot beyond Grace Moloney from the edge of the area.

Striker Asisat Oshoala, Arsenal’s new signing from Liverpool, very nearly doubled the Gunners’ lead before half-time when she broke clear of the Royals’ back line and dinked the ball over the onrushing Moloney, only to watch the ball cannon back off the far post.

Oshoala did not have to wait long to open her account, the Nigerian international latching on to Carter’s pass and rounding Moloney to roll the ball into an empty net seconds after the interval. Arsenal continued to threaten, but some great wing play from Emma Follis gave Jade Boho-Sayo half a chance, which the new signing pounced on Follis' cross with great instinct, stooping low to head home. At this point Reading came close again but good defending from Jordan Nobbs ensured Boho-Sayo could not even the scoreline.

At the other end Oshoala threatened again, this time in the air when her goal-bound header forced an incredible save from Grace Moloney, which earnt a good round of applause from both sets of fans. Arsenal’s Carter then put some distance between the two sides when she nodded in from a corner in the 70th minute.

After the match Charlie Estcourt, who played well whilst experiencing WSL1 for the first time, spoke to the media: “We always knew it was going to be a tough game coming here, but although the result is not what we wanted, there are lots of positives to take from the performance. We know what we need to improve on for the next game and that’s what we’ll focus on now. We had some chances and we know in this league we’ve got to be more clinical. We are disappointed with the result, but it’s about building now. We competed with Arsenal, who are going to be one of the best teams in the league. We know there are lots of tough games to come in the season but we think that we can compete and definitely be in and around all of the teams this season.

Charlie also gave praise to Boho-Sayo, who now has 2 in 2 for the Royals: “Jade’s a great asset to us, she’s a great signing. She’s got loads of composure on the ball. She gives us that attacking threat up front and she’s a goalscorer. She’s massive for us.”

Manager Kelly Chambers told BBC Sport: “We learn from this, move on, and go to Sunderland. We’re really excited for the season ahead…we’re going to look forward and keep building”.

Arsenal (3)

Goal scorers: Janssen 33, Oshoala 46, Carter 70

(4-3-3): Sari van Veenendaal; Alex Scott, Jemma Rose, Leah Williamson, Emma Mitchell; Dominique Janssen, Vicky Losada, Jordan Nobbs; Danielle Carter, Asisat Oshoala, Marta Corredera

Substitutes: Fara Williams for Losada 66, Danielle van de Donk for Nobbs 66, Natalia Pablos Sanchon for Scott 80

Substitutes not used: Emma Byrne, Casey Stoney, Kelly Smith, Katie McCabe

Bookings: 0

Red cards: 0

Reading (1)

Goal scorers: Boho-Sayo 58

(4-3-3): Grace Moloney; Rebecca Jane, Molly Bartrip, Kirsty McGee, Rachel Rowe; Kayleigh Hines, Helen Ward, Lauren Bruton; Lois Roche, Emma Follis, Jade Boho-Sayo

Substitutes: Charlie Estcourt for Hines 45, Nia Jones for McGee 78

Substitutes not used: Mary Earps, Harriet Scott, Bonnie Horwood, Laura May-Walkley, Shelly Cox

Bookings: 0

Red cards: 0

Referee: Robert Whitton

Attendance: 1,208