Fara Williams scored twice, including a sensational winner from the halfway line, against her former club Arsenal to earn Reading a hard-fought victory in the Women’s Super League Cup at Meadow Park.
Williams scored directly from a second-half restart, immediately after Beth Mead had equalised just after the hour mark for Arsenal, who are expected to appoint Melbourne City assistant coach Joe Montemurro as their new manager this week. Williams’s stunning 50-yard effort looped over the Arsenal goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who was well beaten. It was Williams’s fifth goal in six games and ensured a third straight victory for Kelly Chambers’s side in all competitions.
“That goal shows the calibre of player Fara is,” the Reading manager said. “She has been a great addition for us and looks like she has got a new lease of life. She is scoring goals, is confident and long may it continue.”
Arsenal came close to an equaliser with the in-form Danielle Carter finding space on the right but her effort was saved by Grace Moloney while Mead also threatened again but a stubborn Reading defence stood firm.
It was a first Group One South defeat for Arsenal and meant Reading move level on points with them at the top. The next challenge for Reading will be the visit of the WSL1 leaders Chelsea next weekend, when the teams return to league action. “They are on a massive high as well, we are in a fantastic place right now and I think that we can compete with them come Sunday,” Chambers said.
Elsewhere, Liverpool eventually got the better of the WSL2 side Durham, winning 5-4 on penalties after the match ended 0-0, with the Scotland international Caroline Weir scoring the decisive spot-kick. “We’re frustrated and disappointed. We shouldn’t be coming to teams in lower leagues and not winning – we should set our standards a lot higher than that,” Casey Stoney, the Liverpool defender, said.
A thrilling penalty shoot-out also determined the outcome in Tamworth, where Aston Villa edged past Sheffield FC 11-10 on penalties to end their five-match losing run and pick up a priceless bonus point.
Brighton & Hove Albion came from behind to sweep aside the Group Two South leaders Tottenham Hotspur. Lucy Somes and Aileen Whelan responded to the home side’s opener and Ini Umotong then struck a late double to complete a 4-1 rout. “We’re aiming to finish in the top two in this group so today was a big game,” Umotong said. “Spurs have done so well against Bristol and Yeovil so it feels great to beat them.”
Birmingham City beat Doncaster Rovers 3-2 and London Bees lost at home to Millwall in a seven-goal thriller at the Hive. Ashlee Hincks scored twice as Millwall came from behind to defeat the Bees for a second consecutive weekend.
On Saturday, Bristol City endured late heartbreak after Karen Carney scored Chelsea’s winner from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time. It was Carney who fell in the area in added time, under the challenge of Frankie Brown, and the England international picked herself up to send goalkeeper Caitlin Leach the wrong way from 12 yards. Eni Aluko had given the visitors the lead with her third goal in two matches, with a cool finish from close range. “The sign of a good team is one that finds a way to win, even when they are not playing at their best,” Emma Hayes, the Chelsea manager, said. Chelsea returned to the top of Group Two South on goal difference, while pointless City prop up the table.
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